Electrophoresis separates nucleic acids or protein based on size. In general, samples are loaded into pre-cut wells within a porous gel, treated with an electric field to pull the molecules apart, and are separated thanks to the pores within the gel. The range of applications electrophoresis varies widely therefore so too do the different types of equipment required to perform such experiments.
Besides gels, ladders, and additives, there is a breadth of tools used to optimize electrophoresis, whether it is horizontal or vertical electrophoresis.
In simple terms, the electrophoresis protocol runs as follows: the target sample is introduced into the gel. This gel is then placed or is pre-prepared within a chamber, which is then submerged in a tank filled with running buffer. The attached power source introduces a current, which in turn produces positively and negatively charged ends of the gel. The charge will then ‘pull’ the target towards its opposing charge, thus allowing for separation to occur.