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Nanoscale. 2011 Aug;3(8):3027-39. doi: 10.1039/c1nr10280j. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

Labeling DNA for single-molecule experiments: methods of labeling internal specific sequences on double-stranded DNA.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


This review is a practical guide for experimentalists interested in specifically labeling internal sequences on double-stranded (ds) DNA molecules for single-molecule experiments. We describe six labeling approaches demonstrated in a single-molecule context and discuss the merits and drawbacks of each approach with particular attention to the amount of specialized training and reagents required. By evaluating each approach according to criteria relevant to single-molecule experiments, including labeling yield and compatibility with cofactors such as Mg(2+), we provide a simple reference for selecting a labeling method for given experimental constraints. Intended for non-specialists seeking accessible solutions to DNA labeling challenges, the approaches outlined emphasize simplicity, robustness, suitability for use by non-biologists, and utility in diverse single-molecule experiments.

This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2011

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