Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gel Electrophoresis

Today in the laboratory, we did gel electrophoresis. It is a process that you cut DNA into pieces and then separate them by size by applying electricity through a gel. The lab took us about three hours, since there are some steps which we had to wait for the reaction to complete. It was the most complicated lab I have ever done. We made our own gel and set up the apparatus for gel electrophoresis by ourselves - and of course the instruction of the professor. 

An exciting thing about this lab is the use of ethidium bromide as a fluorescent tag of DNA. Ethidium bromide is a mutagen because it reacts with DNA. The fact that we were using hazardous chemicals made me feel that we were doing what scientists do, not just a lab design for students. 

The result of my gel electrophoresis was almost perfect except that I probably overloaded one of the wells in the gel, so the DNA in that lane was smeared. Today we were basically learning the techniques of gel electrophoresis and getting ready for tomorrow's lab, where we are going to analyze various enzyme activities on methylized DNA using gel electrophoresis.
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