Commercially available primary antibodies are produced in many ways, and these differences yield antibodies having unique characteristics that affect their suitability for different applications. Knowing the characteristics of each type of antibody is important for choosing the best one for your research.

In addition to “polyclonal” and “monoclonal” antibodies, there are now several other types or subtypes of primary antibodies to select from when choosing antibodies for particular research requirements. Use the information on this page to help guide your antibody selection.

It’s easy to find the antibodies you need that are suited for your specific research application. Use our antibody search tool to explore our portfolio of more than 40,000 high-quality antibodies in over 50 research areas such as cancer, epigenetics, immunology, neuroscience, and stem cells.


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Find antibodies of interest using the search tool below. Then filter the results by target or host species, monoclonal or polyclonal antibody type, and other criteria.


Guide to polyclonal and monoclonal primary antibodies

Open the following sections to read about the benefits and considerations for use of each specific type of polyclonal and monoclonal primary antibody.

ABfinity™ antibodies are derived from rabbit monoclonal antibody-producing cell lines by isolating and cloning the specific antibody heavy and light chain DNA sequences. ABfinity monoclonal antibodies are produced from one clone isolated from a clone library.

Benefits:

  • High specificity and sensitivity due to using the full rabbit natural repertoire
  • Lot-to-lot consistency due to recombinant production
  • In development application screening, antibodies are generated to work in the desired application
  • Single-epitope binding found in monoclonal antibodies
  • Animal origin–free production
  • Banked as DNA instead of cells

Things to consider:

  • No multiple-epitope binding

Learn more about our ABfinity Recombinant Rabbit Monoclonal Antibodies

ABfinity antibodies are derived from rabbit monoclonal antibody-producing cell lines by isolating and cloning the specific antibody heavy and light chain DNA sequences. ABfinity oligoclonal antibodies are produced from multiple clones in the clone library.

Benefits:

  • High specificity due to using the full rabbit natural repertoire
  • Lot-to-lot consistency due to recombinant production
  • In development application screening, antibodies are generated to work in the desired application
  • Multiple-epitope binding created by expressing a library of DNA that shows positive binding
  • Animal origin–free production
  • Banked as DNA instead of cells

Things to consider:

  • No single-epitope binding
  • May see more cross-reactivity due to multiple-epitope binding

Phage display recombinant monoclonal antibodies are expressed when DNA sequences encoding an antibody’s variable regions are fused with a bacteriophage’s genes that encode the coat protein. Thus, the phage’s coat expresses an antibody fusion protein on its surface.

Benefits:

  • Lot-to-lot consistency due to recombinant production
  • Single-epitope binding
  • Animal origin–free production
  • Banked as DNA instead of cells

Things to consider:

  • Phage display antibodies can show reduced affinity compared to antibodies raised in animals
  • Phage display antibodies lack glycosylation
  • No multiple-epitope binding

Monoclonal antibodies are hybridoma-derived. Their production involves immunizing animals (most commonly mice), isolating their spleen cells, and fusing those cells with partner cells. The hybridoma cells are then characterized, and the best clone is selected for antibody production.

Benefits:

  • Lot-to-lot consistency due to banking of hybridomas
  • Single-epitope binding

Things to consider:

  • Monoclonal antibodies can exhibit cell drift over time
  • No multiple-epitope binding
  • Need to consider isotype-specific nature of monoclonal antibodies

Learn more about our Monoclonal Antibodies

Rabbit monoclonal antibodies are hybridoma-derived. Their production involves immunizing rabbits, isolating their spleen cells, and fusing those cells with partner cells. The hybridoma cells are then characterized, and the best clone is selected for antibody production.

Benefits:

  • High specificity due to using the full rabbit natural repertoire
  • Single-epitope binding
  • Single isotype in rabbits

Things to consider:

  • Rabbit hybridomas can exhibit more rapid cell drift over time than mouse hybridomas
  • No multiple-epitope binding

Learn more about our Rabbit Monoclonal Antibodies

Polyclonal antibodies are B cell–derived from an animal immunization. The antibodies are purified from the animal’s serum and consist of many different antibodies that bind to different epitopes on the antigen.

Benefits:

  • Multiple-epitope binding
  • High reactivity due to using the full natural repertoire

Things to consider:

  • Lot-to-lot variability with each animal immunization
  • No single-epitope binding
  • Higher likelihood of cross-reactivity due to multiple-epitope binding

Learn more about our Polyclonal Antibodies

Antibody Applications

The different types of recombinant, monoclonal, and polyclonal antibodies may be used for a variety of research applications. In many cases, each type of antibody may be used for the following techniques, albeit with different quality and consistency: