Tracking Dye

  • Tracking dyes are colored dyes, which are added to the loading dye/buffer.
  • Loading dye/buffers are used to prepare samples for gel electrophoresis.
  • Tracking dyes serve two purposes:
    • They impart color to the sample, thus visualizing the sample loading process.
    • Since they are visible by the naked eye, the progression of gel electrophoresis can easily be monitored.
  • Tracking dyes should have the following properties in order to be used for gel electrophoresis:
    • They should not interact with any of the components of the sample (DNA or protein).
    • They should move from negative to positive electrodes (the direction of electrophoresis). Therefore, they should have a net negative charge at the pH of the electrophoresis buffer.
    • They should impart contrast color to the samples and its migration should easily be monitored visually.
  • Common tracking dyes used for gel electrophoresis: Bromophenol blue, Xylene cyanol FF, Orange G.

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