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Electrophoresis Technique Used For DNA Analysis

Last updated date: 22nd Mar 2024
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What is Electrophoresis?

The electrokinetic process which separates the charged particles in a fluid using a field of electrical charge is known as Electrophoresis. 

This process is more often used in life science to separate the protein molecules called DNA. Depending on the size and the type of molecules, the separation can be achieved through various methods. 

The methods differ in a few ways. But some things are common in every procedure like all need a source for the electrical charge, a buffer solution, and a support medium. To separate molecules based on their size, purity, and density, electrophoresis is used in laboratories. 

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Define Electrophoresis

A laboratory technique that is used to separate DNA, protein molecules, or RNA based on the size, type, density, and electrical charge is known as electrophoresis. Through a gel and an electric current, move molecules are separated. 

The pores in the gel work as a sieve which allows the small molecules to move faster than the large molecules. According to the desired size range, the conditions used during the electrophoresis can be altered to separate the molecules. 

How Does The Electrophoresis Process Works?

The molecules are electrically charged themselves. Due to this when an electric field is applied to the molecules, it results in a force acting upon them. The intensity of the force applied by the electric field depends on the intensity of the charge in the molecule. With a greater charge of the molecules, the force applied by the electric field is also greater. 

Therefore, the molecule will move according to its mass through the support medium. DNA analysis, RNA analysis as well as protein electrophoresis is some of the examples for the application of the trophoresis. It is a medical method that is used to separate the molecule found in a fluid sample and also analyze the molecule in the fluid sample. 

 Different Types of Electrophoresis

  1. Routine Electrophoresis

Routine electrophoresis is traditional clinical laboratory electrophoresis. It is performed on a rectangle-shaped slab gel. This process is used to separate proteins like DNA. Some also use in separating the nucleic acids. 

  1. High-Resolution Electrophoresis

High-resolution electrophoresis is routine electrophoresis using a high amount of voltage. This process is used in conditions where more resolution of protein is needed. It is used to separate the CSF proteins for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. High-resolution electrophoresis is also used in light chains in urine for the early detection of lymphoproliferative disorders like multiple myeloma. 

  1. Polyacrylamide

Polyacrylamide which is also known as PAM is an organic polymer. It is formed from the acrylamides subunits. In the initial stage, it is made with a simple, linear structure, and repeating polymer. But this can be modified to form highly structured, crossed linked, and branched variants. It has various uses. The main purpose of this process is to separate the solids or the liquids in municipal as well as in industrial wastewater sectors. 

  1. Capillary Electrophoresis

Capillary electrophoresis is not as complicated as it is pronounced. This electrophoresis works much like a magnet. The magnet has two different poles one known as the North Pole and the other known as the South Pole. The same poles repel each other while the opposite poles attract each other. 

Exactly like a magnet in this type of electrophoresis, there are two sides. One side is the positive side which is also called the cathode and the other side is the negative side also known as the anode. 

This process is used to separate and detect the short tandem repeat alleles in forensic DNA laboratories. It is a primary method.  

  1. Isoelectric Focusing

Chemicals are infused in the gel that makes a pH gradient across the surface of the gel. The proteins will move to the place in the gel where there is no net charge which is their isoelectric point by using a very high vol. 

This process is used in prenatal screening to separate various hemoglobins. It is also used to detect the oligoclonal bands in the gamma globulin. 

  1. Immunofixation Electrophoresis

In immunofixation electrophoresis, agarose gel electrophoresis separates the proteins in the serum sample. Antiserum is spread directly on the gel against the protein of interest. Precipitation of the protein of interest is formed in the gel matrix. 

The precipitated protein is stained after a wash to remove the other protein. This process helps in studying the anti-aging of the proteins and also their split products. It also helps in identifying the proteins found in multiple myeloma. 

  1. Pulsed Field Electrophoresis

By alternatively applying the power to different pairs of electrodes, fragment separation can be easily achieved. 

The positive electrode and the negative electrode get altered with the most common method during the process of electrophoresis. This process helps in separating the large fragments of the DNA. 

FAQs on Electrophoresis Technique Used For DNA Analysis

1. What is gel electrophoresis? What is the technique used for DNA analysis?

Gel electrophoresis is a method that is widely used in laboratories to separate the protein moles such as DNA and RNA based on their size, density, and type. When an electric current is passed, the entire charged molecules move through the gel. The term ‘migration’ is used for the movement of the charged molecules. 

Gel electrophoresis is a technique that is used to analyze DNA. Agarose gel electrophoresis is an effective way to separate the fragments of the protein molecule called DNA based on its size. Before the adaptation of the agarose gel, DNA was separated using sucrose density gradient centrifugation. Agarose gel electrophoresis has advanced the process of separating DNA. 

2. What is protein electrophoresis?

The process which measures the specific protein in the blood is called protein electrophoresis. According to the electric charge, this process helps in separating the proteins in the blood. The protein electrophoresis is mostly used in finding abnormal substances such as the M proteins which is a sign of a type of cancer. 

The type of cancer due to the presence of M protein is called myeloma or multiple myeloma. It severely affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Protein electrophoresis also tests for proteins and antibodies such as immunoglobulins. The protein electrophoresis is used to diagnose other various conditions affecting the plasma cells like Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, primary amyloidosis, and monoclonal gammopathy.