UNIT 2.8 Capillary Electrophoresis of DNA

  1. Alan Smith1,
  2. Robert J. Nelson2

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142727.mb0208s45

Current Protocols in Molecular Biology

Current Protocols in Molecular Biology

How to Cite

Smith, A. and Nelson, R. J. 2001. Capillary Electrophoresis of DNA. Current Protocols in Molecular Biology. 2:III:2.8.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Stanford University, Stanford, California

  2. 2

    Molecular Dynamics, Sunnyvale, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: JAN 1999

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (1 NOV 2004)


Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is an alternative to conventional slab gel electrophoresis for the separation of DNA fragments. CE offers a number of advantages over slab gel separations in terms of speed, resolution, sensitivity, and data handling. Separation times are generally only a few minutes and the DNA is detected either by UV absorption or by fluorescent labeling. The quantity of DNA required for the separation is in the nanogram range. Single-base resolution can be obtained on fragments up to several hundred base pairs. In the presence of appropriate standards, fragments can be accurately sized, based on relative electrophoretic mobility. A protocol for the analysis of synthetic oligonucleotides in a flowable matrix is described in this unit as an example of an application of CE. Another area of growing interest is the ability to analyze low levels of PCR products in biological fluids, and a protocol is presented for this purpose.