Electrophoresis is a common lab procedure for identifying and separating macromolecules. It was first observed in the early 1800s by a university scientist in Moscow. Like many discoveries, it was accidental, but has proven itself useful for many research scenarios. By applying electricity, technicians use the particles’ negative or positive charges to make them migrate through porous matrix, such as an agarose gel. When positively charged molecules are present in a sample, they will creep towards the negative current (cathode), while negatively charged molecules will migrate to the positive current (anode).
Besides a source of electricity and gel, this kinetic test requires buffer to help prevent temperature and pH extremes. The type of gel used depends on the sample and application. Gels are “solid,” but porous. Within the gel, larger molecules will travel more slowly and smaller molecules will move quickly. Therefore, molecular size is another w