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Nucleic Acids Res. Mar 1975; 2(3): 383–389.
PMCID: PMC342844

Size fractionation of double-stranded DNA by precipitation with polyethylene glycol

Abstract

We show that DNA molecules of differing molecular mass are separable by selective precipitation with polyethylene glycol (PEG†). Higher molecular mass DNA precipitates at lower PEG concentrations than lower molecular mass DNA. Double-stranded DNA can be fractionated at least in the range of 3 × 107 to 1 × 105 daltons. The effects of PEG concentration, sodium chloride concentration, DNA concentration, pH, divalent ions, precipitation time, and centrifugal force have been determined. These studies show PEG precipitation offers a size fractionation method for DNA which is convenient, of high capacity, and applicable over a wide range of conditions. However, resolution is not high and separation of two species approaches 100% only if they differ in molecular mass by at least a factor of two.

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