Gel Electrophoresis

To understand the basic process of gel electrophoresis you don’t have to be a microbiologist, but it might help. This is the process of running basic DNA and RNA strands through a gel like substance in order to separate and analyze the various particles of the substance. The molecules of a substance can be separated by size and by electrical charge. This is a valuable method of science because it allows for the ability to perform experiments. However even though it is useful there are a lot of problems that cause many questions.

The Uses

Gel electrophoresis is vital to the performance of most scientific experiences that take place at the microscopic level. For example let’s say that you have a Petri dish with a certain substance in it. Then you separate it and treat one dish with cancer cells and the other remains a constant. The DNA can be analyzed to show how the cancer progressed and the difference that each set of circumstances caused. There are ways to adjust the size of the treatment and experiment and also to actually create DNA for study. Basically the DNA substance is run through the gel and the molecules separate so that an observer can determine exactly what makes up a substance.

The Problems are Many

Often times the problems of this process are many and they need to be recognized before the results of a process are given a whole lot of validity. First of all there are going to be times when the gel is smeared which means that the DNA that was loaded into the gel had a problem. This problem could have been caused by too much of a substance, not enough of a substance or just a faulty substance all together being added. This type of problem smearing in the gel will not give a goof enough result for any type of real valuable analysis.

The same can happen when the new bands of DNA are not sufficient enough to get a proper reading. The entire gel electrophoresis process can be followed and yield absolutely no viable results. This can waste a lot of time and even lead to some improper and unreliable findings. Also there is an electrical charge that is vital to the migration of the DNA molecules. If this charge is administered improperly then there is going to be a chance that the readings will be faulty as well.


Although gel electrophoresis provide the opportunity to learn about the effects of many substances on DNA and RNA of people and is relatively harmless, there are many problems which can occur in the testing process from electrical problems to the amount of the substance being observed. These can return data that is insufficient or unreliable.