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If a DNA strand is denatured, it is generally as a result of an increase in temperature. If monitored, the absorbance can be graphed as a function of temperature. The midpoint in the resulting curve is the melting point.

The melting curve can be altered by decreasing the ionic concentration, causing an decrease in the melting temperature. This is due to the Poly-anion nature of the DNA helix. When the ionic strength is decreased, the stability of the DNA strand decreases.

When a small amount of ethanol is added, the non-polar effect has the biggest impact. When EtOH is added, the non-polar nature of the solution is decreased, resulting in a decreased importance of the hydrophobic forces on the stability of the helix, resulting in a lower melting temperature.

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Q: How is he melting curve of duplex DNA affected by adding a small amount of ethanol?
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