Early types of apparatus were relatively simple in design, consisting of tanks with two buffer reservoirs, one at the cathode and the other at the anode electrode. The gel is submerged in the buffer solution, thus allowing a voltage to be applied across the gel. In the above animation, the sample wells are loaded with amplified DNA products. Once the sample wells are loaded and current applied, simultaneous electrophoresis can occur for all samples. As the sample migrates through the slab gel, a sample lane is defined.
With the advances in the biotechnology industry, these tanks evolved in sophistication. Some examples are buffer recirculation ports and cooling plates for the gel to sit on, both of which can effectively remove heat generated during electrophoresis.
Click here to view an animation explaining slab gel electrophoresis.
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