Compatible with cloning and sequencing.
Use UV or blue LED for GelGreen™ with SYBR® settings.
How Safe is Your Gel Stain?
A number of ethidium bromide (EtBr) alternatives are marketed as being safe. In fact, many so-called “safe” gel stains contain dyes that are well known to bind DNA in living cells, with cytotoxic effects. GelRed™ and GelGreen™ are highly sensitive gel stains designed to be nontoxic and nonmutagenic by virtue of being cell membrane impermeable, so they cannot enter living cells. Download our white paper to learn more.
Safer alternatives to EtBr, SYBR® Safe, and others
EtBr has been the predominant dye used for nucleic acid staining for decades because of its low price and generally sufficient sensitivity. However, EtBr is a highly mutagenic material. The safety hazard and costs associated with decontamination and waste disposal can ultimately make the nucleic acid dye expensive to use. For this reason, various ethidium bromide alternative DNA gel stains have become commercially available in recent years. Although these alternative nucleic acid staining dyes are marketed as having low mutagenicity, they often have to sacrifice other aspects of the dyes. For example, SYBR® Safe has very limited sensitivity while SYBR® Green and SYBR® Gold are much less stable than EtBr. In addition, many so-called “safe” DNA dyes like Midori Green, GreenSafe, SafeView™, and RedSafe™ not only have low sensitivity, but also readily penetrate living cells to bind DNA, and some are cytotoxic. See our Gel Stains Comparison for details.
Non-toxic, non-mutagenic, and non-hazardous for disposal
To make GelRed™ and GelGreen™ safe, scientists at Biotium used a novel yet very simple concept: reduce genotoxicity by preventing the dyes from entering living cells. We believe that a DNA-binding dye can be made nonmutagenic or substantially so by denying its chance to be in contact with genomic DNA in living cells. Thus, we engineered the chemical structures of GelRed™ and GelGreen™ such that the dyes are incapable of crossing cell membranes. The Ames test confirmed that GelRed™ and GelGreen™ are nonmutagenic at concentrations well above their working concentrations used for gel staining. Furthermore, environmental safety tests showed that GelRed™ and GelGreen™ are nonhazardous and nontoxic to aquatic life. As a result, GelRed™ and GelGreen™ can be disposed of down the drain or thrown away in the regular trash. For more information, please download the GelRed™ and GelGreen™ Safety Report.
Superior sensitivity and flexible applications
GelRed™ and GelGreen™ are highly sensitive either as precast gel stains or post gel stains. GelRed™ is much more sensitive than EtBr, and at least as sensitive as or brighter than SYBR® Gold in post gel staining. Unlike SYBR® Gold, GelRed™ can also be used as a highly sensitive precast gel stain, and is available as a prestain loading buffer. GelGreen™ is spectrally similar to SYBR® Safe but is far more sensitive, and can be used with blue light gel imaging systems like the DarkReader®. PAGE GelRed™ is designed for staining DNA in acrylamide gels. Another major advantage of GelRed™ and GelGreen™ DNA stain is their remarkable stability. You can store and handle the two nucleic acid staining dyes the same way you do with EtBr. For detailed protocols for use of the DNA stain, please download the GelRed™ Product Information Sheet or GelGreen™ Product Information Sheet.
- More sensitive than EtBr, SYBR® Safe, and others
- Use in precast or post-stain
- Compatible with downstream cloning and sequencing
- GelRed™ available in 6X loading buffer format
- PAGE GelRed™ for acrylamide gels
- GelRed™: use UV transilluminator and EtBr filter
- GelGreen™: Use UV or blue LED and SYBR® filter, or our new Gel-Bright™ LED Illuminator
GelRed™ Is Superior to EtBr
GelGreen™ Is Unmatched by SYBR® Safe
GelRed™ and GelGreen™ troubleshooting
- If you see DNA migration issues or smearing after post-staining with GelRed or GelGreen, then the problem is not caused by the nucleic acid dye. Avoid overfilling gel wells to prevent smearing of DNA down the surface of the gel.
- Pour a lower percentage agarose gel. Higher molecular weight DNA separates better with a lower percentage gel.
- Change the running buffer. TBE buffer has a higher buffering capacity than TAE buffer.
- Heat GelRed™ solution to 45-50°C for two minutes and vortex to dissolve.
- Store dye at room temperature to avoid precipitation.
GelRed™ and GelGreen™ Nucleic Acid Gel Stains
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View the GelGreen™ Product Line← FAQs