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How Gel Electrophoresis Is Used in Real Life Today

Updated July 19, 2017

Gel electrophoresis was first utilised around the mid 1900s and has become a vital tool in many areas of science and society. An important tool in fields associated with the biological sciences, gel electrophoresis allows scientists and researchers to study and compare macromolecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins.

Genetics

The field of genetics studies DNA and its involvement in the heredity and variation of genes in biological organisms. Sometimes overlapping with the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry, genetics is used in medicine and research to study and fight human diseases. Genetics also involves DNA sequencing which catalogues sections of DNA of different biological species. The vast amount of data obtained through DNA sequencing has resulted in the field of genomics which studies the genetic patterns within biological organisms.

Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

The sometimes overlapping fields of molecular biology and biochemistry both utilise gel electrophoresis in the study of DNA, RNA and proteins in living organisms. While molecular biology studies the interactions of systems within a cell, biochemistry studies the chemical processes within the cells of biological organisms.

Forensics

Combining aspects of biological and chemical sciences with law enforcement, forensics seeks to identify chemicals and compounds involved in a crime or investigation as well as correctly identify a species or individual by the study of DNA. It is also used in the investigation of faulty products and processes. Gel electrophoresis aids in accurate research and helps to correctly identify causes and criminals.

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About the Author

After completing his college screenwriting studies David Slate began work with an animal welfare organization creating educational materials. Then traveling abroad, he taught English in Prague for two years. In 2005 he moved to New York City and works in media production as a fine artist and designer. Also a playwright, his short works have been in local New York City festivals.