Need methods for molecular diversity

William A. Tozier btozier at
Thu Nov 19 09:33:24 EST 1992

  Recently it has become necessary for us to measure the number of different
compounds in complex mixtures of biological samples. The samples are quite
"messy" from a standard biological point of view, and contain large organic
molecules, RNAs, DNAs, and proteins. We've embarked on a multistep process
that involves chromatography, electrophoresis, and so on, but since these
techniques are mainly optimized for purification and not "peak-counting",
we're skeptical that we'll be able to discriminate "how many kinds of
things" are in a given sample. We know there are over a thousand, maybe
millions. Any supportable estimate is all we're looking for.
  Since this will end up being a survey of several mixtures, we'd really
appreciate some help. Are we missing some elementary technique that might
simplify our task? Something perhaps obsolete for most people that might
work here?
  As a specific question: Is anyone aware of an electrophoretic technique that
would discern DNA, RNA and protein simultaneously?

Thanks for your help,
Bill Tozier
Biology Department
University of Pennsylvania

btozier at
bill at

More information about the Methods mailing list