Troubleshooting Irregular, Distorted, or Atypical Bands

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Electrophoresis. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Troubleshooting Irregular, Distorted, or Atypical Bands

Band AppearancePossible Cause
Short migration patternsContaminated or aged buffer
Diffuse bands Markedly wet gels
Poor sample application
Streaks perpendicular to bands Tearing/poking gel in sample application
Weak bands Not enough sample
Not enough stain
Other causes of irregular and distorted bandsHemolyzed sample
Bent or dirty applicator
Air bubbles in sample application
Too much sample
Wick flow
Too much heat or drying