Electrophoresis is a process for separating charged molecules based on their movement through a medium under the influence of an applied electric field. This module will introduce some of the early adaptations of electrophoresis in human identification laboratories. The next module deals with the technology used today.
In 1807, Russian scientist F. F. Reuss observed the migration of particles in an electrical field establishing the foundation for the work of the Swedish chemist Arne Wilhelm Tiselius. In 1930, Tiselius introduced a method for separating proteins in suspension using electric currents, which was termed electrophoresis. He was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.01, 02, 03 Today, electrophoresis has many applications for separation of the components of mixtures and is the method of choice for amplified DNA product separations.
Author: Rhonda Roby
Rhonda K. Roby, MPH, has 17 years experience in the applications of DNA technology for forensic and human identification DNA testing. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Forensic Genetics and Evolution at the University of Granada in Spain and is conducting research in support of the NIJ's Missing Persons Program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Her most recent study, Forensic DNA Databasing: Expert Systems for High-Throughput Analysis of Single Source Samples, is forthcoming from the National Institute of Justice publications department.
Author: Debbie Figarelli
Debbie Figarelli serves as DNA Technical Leader at the National Forensic Science Technology Center. Debbie assists with the development of DNA training programs and participates in compliance audits of DNA laboratories.
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