AAT Bioquest

Does ethidium bromide stain RNA?

Posted November 30, 2021


Yes, ethidium bromide stains RNA but with about 10 to 20 times lower efficiency to that of double-stranded DNA.

Ethidium bromide stains denatured RNA more easily. This is because the disruption of hydrogen bonding between nucleotides and the separation of previously annealed strands creates double-stranded regions that allow ethidium bromide to intercalate more easily.

Additional resources

Sensitivity of prestaining RNA with ethidium bromide before electrophoresis and performance of subsequent northern blots using heterologous DNA probes

DNA and RNA Quantitation

Helixyte™ Green Fluorimetric dsDNA Quantitation Kit *High Sensitivity*