What Is the Purpose of Loading Dye?


Quick Answer

Loading dye is used during DNA electrophoresis to help scientists identify nucleic fragments of DNA. Two dyes of different colors extract nucleic acid in an electrical field. Heavier samples go to the bottom, whereas lighter DNA pieces float to the top.

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Full Answer

Two different sizes of loading dye separate small DNA fragments from larger ones. Electricity moves the charged particles of dye across a thick gel. This thicker medium prevents DNA from floating away in the sample. When subjected to an electrical field, smaller DNA pieces travel to the electrode faster. Longer fragments remain close to the origination point of the gel.

Loading dye is two different colors and is replete with charged particles. The most common shades used are blue and orange. As electricity is applied to these dyes, technicians can monitor the progress of DNA extraction. Loading dye is applied in small quantities in test tubes at room temperature.

DNA identification is crucial to several modern medical and forensic techniques. Doctors can pinpoint genetic abnormalities within DNA strands of humans. Forensic scientists can single out criminals thanks to high-tech evidence collection techniques at crime scenes. Biologists are able to determine the best course of action to save various life forms when genetic materials identify medical maladies in plants and animals.

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