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Biochemistry. 1988 Dec 27;27(26):9222-6.

High-resolution separation and accurate size determination in pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of DNA. 4. Influence of DNA topology.

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Department of Genetics and Development, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032.


Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis is a powerful technique for the fractionation of linear DNA molecules with sizes above 50 kilobase pairs (kb). Here it is demonstrated that this technique is also effective for separating smaller DNAs including linear, circular, and supercoiled species. The mobilities of linear DNAs larger than 8 kb can be modulated by pulse times between 0.1 and 100 s. The mobility of supercoiled DNA molecules up to 16 kb is generally unaffected by these pulse times except that 10-s pulse times cause a small but distinct increase in the mobility. The general insensitivity of small supercoiled DNAs to pulse time presumably occurs because these species reorient so rapidly that they spend most of their time undergoing conventional electrophoresis. However, the mobilities of larger supercoiled DNAs are affected by pulse times of less than 1 s, and at 0.1 s the molecules are better resolved by pulsed electrophoresis than by ordinary electrophoresis. The mobility of 3-19 kb nicked and relaxed circular DNA molecules is also affected by pulse time but in a complex way.

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