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Research Article

Use of Synthetic DNA as New Tracers for Tracing Groungwater Flow and Multiple Contaminants

Iftikhar H. Sabir , Peter Alestrom and Sylvi Haldorsen
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It has recently been possible to trace groundwater and contaminants flow paths by using synthetic DNA molecules as tracers. The DNA tracers injected in groundwater can be as distinctive and traceable as a person’s fingerprint. Alphanumeric information like names, dates, batch numbers, can be defined into the DNA sequence. This novel tracing technique can provide an unlimited number of uniquely labelled tracers with different sizes and valances. Using these tracers is a great advangtage because they allow us to evaluate a number of origins of pollutants simultaneously but released over different times. The ability to figure out where water or a pollutant originated and where it has traveled, and such flow paths are a big concern for hydrogeologists trying to predict presence of multiple contaminants in the subsurface environments. Short pieces of single-stranded DNA produced by automated standard oligonucleotide synthesis have successfully been used in groundwater flow and contaminant transport studies. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is utilized to detect and read information in unique DNA tracers. PCR has extremely low detection limit and allows specific detection of one DNA sequence in a mixture of tracer signatures. Synthetic DNA tracer analyze could simplify interpretations of groundwater pollution problems and should be routinely performed in groundwater studies where there is a demand of simultaneous use of two or more tracers. In this chapter the DNA tracing technique is briefly reviewed.

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  How to cite this article:

Iftikhar H. Sabir , Peter Alestrom and Sylvi Haldorsen , 2001. Use of Synthetic DNA as New Tracers for Tracing Groungwater Flow and Multiple Contaminants. Journal of Applied Sciences, 1: 233-238.

DOI: 10.3923/jas.2001.233.238


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