Staining DNA in Agarose with Methylene Blue

Joseph C. Bagshaw jbagshaw at
Fri Mar 1 07:41:05 EST 1996

Methylene blue will work very nicely for a class if you have enough time 
and enough DNA.  Use 2-3 times as much DNA (e.g. restriction digests of 
lambda) as you would for EB staining.  Stain the gel in a 0.2% solution 
of MB in water or electrophoresis buffer for about an hour.  Destain in 
water with frequent changes and frequent shaking.  You should begin to 
see bands within another hour or less.  If you stop changing the water 
when you can see bands but the background is still quite blue, the band 
pattern will remain visible for several days, even improves overnight.

Need a cheap gel box and power supply?  Contact me for ideas.

********************  HAVE GENES, WILL TRAVEL  ********************
Joe Bagshaw, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
jbagshaw at
Roadkill on the information superhighway.

On Tue, 20 Feb 1996, S. M. Fullerton wrote:

> Hello --
> Can anyone tell me about staining DNA with methylene blue?  Like how long
> does it take, what concentration of methylene blue should be used, and how
> easy is it to visualise DNA stained in this manner?
> What I really need to know is whether or not it could serve as a suitable
> substitute for ethidium bromide, for use in a simple lab class.
> Any and all insight much appreciated,
> Malia

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