Transverse pulsed-field electrophoresis of DNA has been conducted in a silicon array engineered by optical lithography and the motion of individual molecules observed by fluorescence microscopy. In strong fields, the molecules can be maintained in highly stretched, linear conformations. When the field is switched through an obtuse angle, they head off in the new direction led by what was formerly their tail end. This backtracking gives rise to fractionation that is linear with molecular weight. A simple prescription exists for choosing the field parameters to obtain a particular range of separation. Since the molecular motions are much more uniform than those that occur in a gel, it is anticipated that the arrays will permit more efficient fractionation than traditional pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Arrays suitably scaled down in size may be useful for pulsed-field sequencing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Microlithograpic array
- Pulsed-field electrophoresis