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Ethidium bromide

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Carcinogens
Nitrous acid
Ethidium bromide
Proflavine
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Mutagen Horrors

Ethidium bromide is an intercalating agent used as a nucleic acid stain. Agarose gel electrophoresis is used in biochemistry and molecular biology by manipulating negatively charged nucleic acid molecules through an agarose matrix with an electric field. Agar is a gelatinous desert made from seaweed also used as a medium in this field. This is done to separate DNA, or RNA molecules by size.

glow.jpg

Ethidium bromide fluoresce to orange when exposed to UV light

Besides being a potent mutagen it is also a suspected carcinogen.
It irritates the skin, eyes, mucous membranes the upper side of our respiratory tract in high concentrations.
This substance is bulky and not easily absorbed by the skin but is toxic nonetheless especially if swallowed and/or inhaled.
It alters double stranded DNA, thus deforming the molecule. It is believed to block or trip biological processes occurring on DNA, causes DNA replication and transcription.

A couple of articles about Ethidium bromide effects on DNA:

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/els/03044165/1999/00001428/00000002/art00076

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119488663/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0


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