Electrophoresis

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Agar gel demonstrating polymerase chain reaction products. The bands are made visible by ethidium bromide and UV light. The stack of bars on the left is the 'ladder', a mixture of nucleic acids of known molecular weight. The white bars on the bottom are actually the wells into the gel into which the DNA product is added.

Separation of biochemical moieties by electricity. It requires a medium, usually in the form of gel, to allow movement of the protein or nucleic acid. Some form of staining is required to render the gel visible.

The distance travelled depends on the molecular weight and charge of the molecule. A small, highly-charged molecule will travel further than a large, more neutral molecule. More complex separation techniques are possible combining a pH gradient in one direction and then electrophoresis in the perpendicular direction.

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