This is a specific and quantitative reaction for the demonstration of DNA. Hydrolysis with HCl forms aldehyde groups on the DNA sugar (deoxyribose) but not on RNA sugar (ribose). The aldehydes then react with reduced basic fuchsin (Schiff’s reagent) to form a characteristic red-blue (magenta) color. The specificity of this stain for DNA can be confirmed by pretreatment of the tissue with DNAase, which depolymerizes DNA and abolishes staining.
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