Ethidium bromide is the most commonly used dye for DNA and RNA detection in gels. Ethidium bromide is a DNA intercalator, inserting itself between the base pairs in the double helix. Ethidium bromide has UV absorbance maxima at 300 and 360 nm, and an emission maximum at 590 nm. The detection limit of DNA bound to ethidium bromide is 0.5 to 5.0 ng/band.
Although ethidium bromide is routinely used to stain DNA in gels, ethidium bromide has also been used to detect protein–DNA complexes in band shift assays and to observe single DNA molecules during gel electrophoresis. Staining of ssDNA or RNA is less sensitive, often requiring 10 times more nucleic acid for equivalent detection.
We offer a 10 mg/mL aqueous solution of ethidium bromide, which can be used as provided or diluted to the desired concentration.
Handle EtBr With Caution
The major drawback to ethidium bromide is that it is a potent mutagen. Ethidium bromide solution must be handled with extreme caution and decontaminated prior to disposal.
For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.