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Abstract

Four species of linear DNA and the first four members of a linking series, generated by treatment of plasmid DNA (PUC19, 2.7 kb) with mitochondrial topoisomerase, were differentiated by transverse agarose pore gradient gel electrophoresis. The experimental curves of migration distance vs. agarose concentration (Ferguson curves) of supercoiled DNA exhibit a steeper trajectory than those of linear DNA of the same size range. As a consequence, the four supercoiled species exhibit an increase in apparent size (relative to linear DNA standards) with increasing agarose concentration. Both the crossing of the Ferguson curves with those of linear standards as well as the apparent size increase with agarose concentration can serve to detect supercoiled plasmid-sized DNA in mixtures with linear DNA.