AAT Bioquest

Why is ethidium bromide not used in DNA fingerprinting?

Posted November 30, 2021


DNA fingerprinting is a chemical test that’s performed to analyze the genetic makeup of human beings and other living things.

Ethidium bromide (EtBr) is not used in DNA fingerprinting because of its strong mutagenic properties. EtBr intercalates double-stranded DNA, altering the structure, weight, charge, and flexibility of the DNA molecule, which results in various types of mutations. Although there is no conclusive proof regarding ethidium bromide’s mutagenic properties, it is usually replaced with a non-toxic fluorescent dye for DNA fingerprinting.  

Additional resources

DNA fingerprinting and forensic medicine

DNA and RNA Quantitation