EtBr staining of DNA

Wolfgang Schechinger wgschech at
Thu Mar 6 14:07:07 EST 1997

Try it, it costs nothing and its interesting, too.

Let me add another suggestion:

I add EtBr when casting the gels (10uL of 1 10mg/ml soln per 100mL 
gel) and store the pre-cast gels in the fridge in TAE rsp.TBE. Also I 
re-use the running buffer several times unless I have a prep gel 
(using two tanks maybe would be a good idea if you can afford). Thus 
the storage buffer and the running buffer contain EtBr themselves and 
DNA is visible pretty well without any further staining. Stored 
pre-cast gels even look better than freshly cast ones. I've never 
stained one of my gels yet.

BTW: Did you ever wonder about the abbrev EtBr?
Some time ago, my chef - he is a chemist - saw my EtBr flask - of 
course with "EtBr" written on it and asked me what I would do with 
bromoethane ;-)

my 2c


> Just add a microlitre to some of your loading dye (it will not last
> very long so don=A5t make much more than you need for one day), then
> add loadingdye to the DNA as normal, load and run the gel and look
> what happen. If you are not satisfied, adjust the amount next time
> (the idea is to use as little as possible. If the DNA is not stained
> enough you can always stain the gel afterwards. Don=A5t forget to
> add EtBr to your ladder also. If all DNA on the same gel is stained
> the same way, I can=A5t see why to bother about changes in running
> of DNA. Correct me if I am wrong.
---------!all possible disclaimers apply!-----------
Wolfgang Schechinger
University of Tuebingen
email: wgschech at

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