Gel electrophoresis

electrophoresis electrophoresis n. 1. (Chem.) the motion of charged molecules or particles in a liquid medium under the influence of an electric field; particles with a positive charge move toward the cathode and negative to the anode. [WordNet sense 1]

Syn: cataphoresis. [WordNet 1.5]

2. (Chem., Biochem.) the application of the principle of electrophoresis to separate molecules, used as an analytical or preparative technique; as, separation by electrophoresis; gel electrophoresis. [PJC]


{Gel electrophoresis} is a technique in which the molecules to be separated are moved through a gelatinous medium under the influence of an electric field. At the completion of a period of electrophoresis, the gel, unlike a liquid solution, may be manipulated as a single object, permitting the substances contained within to be detected or visualized by a variety of methods, and their relative mobilities determined. It is therefore a popular analytic tool in biochemistry, and has many variants. Popular substances used to create the gel are starch, polyacrylamide, and agarose. Since a polyacrylamide gel can be created with different concentrations and different degrees of cross-linking, the pore size of the gel can be controlled to provide special properties appropriate to separation of specific molecules, as for example optimizaion for separation within a particular molecular weight range. in SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, SDS ({sodium dodecyl sulfate}, a detergent) is included; it binds to and denatures protein molecules, allowing them to be separated on the basis of their molecular weight alone. It is thus used as one method of determining the molecular weights of isolated protein chains. [PJC]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • gel electrophoresis — Electrophoresis using a gel supporting phase. Usually applied to systems where the gel is based on polyacrylamide. See electrophoresis …   Dictionary of molecular biology

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  • gel electrophoresis — noun Date: 1955 electrophoresis in which molecules (as proteins and nucleic acids) migrate through a gel and especially a polyacrylamide gel and separate into bands according to size …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • gel electrophoresis — See: electrophoresis …   Glossary of Biotechnology

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  • Gel electrophoresis of nucleic acids — Digital printout of an agarose gel electrophoresis of cat insert plasmid DNA …   Wikipedia

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