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Testing E-Gel electrophoresis system

Testing E-Gel system at Boslab

The Pros

- It is a ** HUGE TIME SAVER **

- No need for a loading/tracking dye, PCR samples are loaded immediately after the PCR run

- No need to prepare and pour the gels, which easily saves 1.5h. No, we don’t like to pour our own gels! Yes, we are lazy (and busy)!

- Runs super fast, as little as 10 minutes to separate fragments. All bands can be observed in ~20 minutes

- Following the run in real-time is AWESOME. It’s kind of hypnotizing. BosLab members had their faces glued on it the entire run (yes, a watched gel does run!)

- The whole system is small, saving a significant amount of bench space, which is perfect for our small and crowded lab.

The Cons

- Some blurriness for the sample loaded on the far left well, where the marker is loaded. The sample trajectory was slightly bent.

- No control over the gel length, and sometimes it’s good to run samples on longer gels in order to better separate bands.

- Wells are rather small; they require some pipetting dexterity! But they do hold up to 20 uL

- Precast gels mean some plastic waste for each run. First of all, that’s not environmentally friendly (sadly the easiest options rarely are in the biotech world) and secondly as a DIYbio space we try to keep our biological trash volume as small as possible, because biological trash removal is expensive!

- We calculated that pouring gels ourselves cost around $3 per gel (for large ones) mostly due to the DNA stain cost (we use GelGreen). E-gel precast gels are around $12, so it’s a significant cost increase per gel.

In conclusion

This is a really nice gel electrophoresis system that might be worth the investment, especially to run our classes.

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