molecular and radioactivity

Cathal Garvey via (by cathalgarvey from
Fri Dec 11 16:02:59 EST 2009

Hi John,
Speaking as a practising molecular biologist, I can think of no routinely
used procedure performed today involving radioactive molecules.

In fact, most if not all of the older hazardous reagents that were used a
decade ago are easily replaceable now. Many mutagenic compounds like EtBr
can be replaced with harmless and less cumbersome to manage alternatives,
though equipment used to visualise the results may need to be updated to
maintain resolution.

One use of Radioactivity that used to be commonplace was in-situ
hybridisations and protein or DNA blots, but these have been entirely
replaced with flourescent alternatives by now.

The only valid use of Radioactivity I've encountered that remains in
reasonably mainstream use is mutation breeding for plants or the like, but
even in this case one can use an X-ray machine instead of a radioactive

I hope this helped! If you have questions about replacing particular
reagents or protocols with less radioactive alternatives, I'd be happy to
help look it up for you.
-Cathal Garvey

More information about the Methods mailing list