ethidium bromide: add to gel before pouring or stain afterwards

Sam Michaelson sam.michaelson at
Mon Jul 6 18:44:11 EST 1998

Aniko Varga wrote:

> destaining is a hassle... especially with large gels, moving them from
> bath to bath... any easy ways to do this, especially with large gels?

Nalgene supplies gel/blot washing boxes, in two sizes, that have a port
and stopper on the side on the outside of the box.  To remove a solution
from the box, you just have to remove the stopper and let it drain out -
remove the solution from the gel, rather than try to remove the gel from
the solution.

I have found that staining flat bed agarose gels (up to 2%) with 10
ug/ml EtBr after a gel is run is possible while leaving the gel sitting
in its tray - staining for 30 minutes, then destaining for 45 - 60
minutes, gives a good result, with a satisfactory background.  The
presence of the tray around the gel doesn't seem to have any adverse
affect on the removal of unbound EtBr.  Leaving the gel in the tray
certainly makes them easier to handle, especially the larger ones.

Sam Michaelson

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