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What is ethidium bromide used for?

Posted November 9, 2021


Answer

Ethidium bromide (EtBr) is mainly used as a non-radioactive marker for detecting double-stranded DNA in gels. EtBr is a DNA intercalator. It shines brighter after inserting itself between the base pairs in the double helix and fluoresces readily when exposed to UV light, making it easy to detect.

EtBr can also be used to stain single-stranded DNA or RNA, however it is less sensitive for these molecules, often requiring about ten times more nucleic acid for equivalent detection.

Additional resources

Ethidium bromide: a nucleic acid stain for tissue section

Helixyte™ Green Nucleic Acid Gel Stain *10,000X DMSO Solution*

DNA and RNA Quantitation