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Archive of SEPGuides (5.1.2017): Gel Electrophoresis Kit

Kit Description

Kids running gels

12 Kits:  (Micropipet types—6 Gilson/Rainin, 5 Ulster, 1 Finnpipet; Oxfords in EO kits)

3 Crates per Kit

This kit offers a menu of activities for learning the principles of electrophoresis. After learning the basic technique, students progress to using agarose gel electrophoresis to separate mixtures of molecules. The Dye/Indicator Lab separates various dyes/pH indicators based on charge and size. The two DNA Labs allow students to separate DNA molecules based on size. DNA Lab 1 uses precut DNA samples. DNA Lab 2 incorporates restriction enzyme digestion of lambda DNA. 

The Elephant Project curriculum sets a realistic context for using gel electrophoresis. Generally teachers check out both an Elephant Trunk and a Gel Kit.

PCR supply users will need gel electrophoresis to visualize their results.


NOTE:  Teacher supplies distilled water to dilute running buffer and a heat source to melt agarose.


Each year New England Biolabs generously donates DNA and enzymes that help make it possible for SEP teachers to use the kits and learning experiences in their classrooms.

How to Pack a Gel Crate Like a Pro!

Yes, Gel Kit crates can be a pain in the . . . But! There's hope. Here are three guides, one for each crate. If items just aren't behaving, it's better to put them in a separate container (box, grocery bag) and bring them in that way. We would rather have them returned separate and intact, rather than together, smooshed and broken.

Bio-Rad Fast Blast DNA Stain on-line Instruction Manual

We recommend soaking the gel in 100 X Fast Blast for 3 minutes. Then rinse well (but carefully!) several times. It takes several rinses and some time to clear the background stain, but this process gives really great results. You can leave the gel destaining in a little water overnight and see really beautifully stained bands in the morning.

Flashgel Time Lapse

Here is a very cool time lapse video of gel electrophoresis in action, courtesy of retired SEP teacher and current RV explorer extraordinaire Aram Langhans.

Aram used the FlashGel System, created by Cambrex, and the actual running time was only 5 minutes. More info at

Save Time in the Lab

A significant reduction in gel electrophoresis running time can be achieved by decreasing the concentration of the running buffer (TAE) and increasing the voltage:

  • Decrease the running buffer from 1X to 0.25X
  • Increase the voltage from 100V to 200V
  • Reduce your running time from 45 minutes to 20 minutes.


  • Make the agarose with 1X TAE NOT the 0.25X running buffer
  • Do NOT run the gel longer than 20 minutes.

If you exceed 20 minutes the gel will melt.

Under these conditions, the top edge of the gel (where the wells are located) may begin to melt a bit, but this should not impact the visualization of DNA fragments.

- Tip courtesy of Essy Levy of Bio-Rad

Journal Articles

Useful Links

Connections for the SEP Dye/pH Indicator Gel Electrophoresis Lab 

Related Books

Micropipet Notebook Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Tab Document
Kit Inventory Complete List of Equipment and Materials Included
Gel Electrophoresis Kit Inventory List
Measure for Measure
Measure for Measure Teacher's Guide
Micropipetting and the metric system.
Measure for Measure Student Version
Covers the Oxford 3-pipet range set.
Measure for Measure Student Version
Covers the Oxford 4-pipet range set.
Measure for Measure Student Version
Covers the Ulster and Gilson-Rainin sets.
Measure for Measure Answer Key
Answers to the Student Worksheet.
Gilson-Rainin Micropipet Information
Gilson-Rainin Protocol Card
Illustrations covering the use of the range of Gilson-Rainin pipets.
Gilson-Rainin Example Sheet, Quiz and Answer Key
Oxford Micropipet Information
Oxford Protocol Card
Illustrations covering the use of the range of Oxford pipets.
Oxford Example Sheet, Quiz and Answer Key
Ulster Micropipet Information
Ulster Protocol Card
Illustrations covering the use of the range of Ulster pipets.
Ulster Example Sheet, Quiz and Answer Key
Finn Micropipet Information
Finn Protocol Card
Illustrations covering the use of the range of Finn pipets.
Finn Quiz and Answer Key
Supplemental Information Microtube Volumes
An illustration to help teachers and students "eyeball" different volumes of liquid in microtubes
Electrophoresis Exploration Lab Teacher's Guide
This inquiry-based lab introduces students to the gel electrophoresis equipment and the principles of electrophoresis. Student Protocol
Electrophoresis Record Sheet
Dye/Indicator Lab Protocol Teacher's Guide
The main concept of this lab is that complex mixtures of molecules can be separated by electric charge, size and shape using gel electrophoresis. Student Protocol
Dye Flow Chart
Sample Dye Gel Photo
Protocols Using Fast Blast
DNA Lab 1: Precut Lambda DNA Teachers' Guide for Fast Blast
Students use gel electrophoresis to study the DNA of a virus named lambda (λ) which has been pre-cut by enzymes. DNA Lab #1 Student Protocol
DNA Lab 1 Forensics: Precut Lambda DNA "who dunnit" Teachers' Guide for Fast Blast
Teachers can create their own crime scenarios using this expanded set of precut lambda DNA markers. DNA Lab #1 Forensics Teacher's Guide
New England Biolabs 1 kb Ladder
Lambda DNA Map
DNA Lab 2: Enzyme Digestion of DNA Teachers' Guide for Fast Blast
In this lab, students use restriction enzymes to cut DNA samples, and determine the sizes of the resulting pieces using gel electrophoresis. DNA Lab #2 Student Protocol
Lambda DNA Map
Semi-Log Plotting Sheet
Other Resources
Teacher's Tips for the Classroom
Gel Electrophoresis Reagents FAQ
How to Make Solutions and Dilutions in the Lab
From At the Bench:A Laboratory Navigator by Kathy Barker, 1998

Additional Resources

Clip Art


Microtube Volumes

Illustrations to help teachers and students "eyeball" different volumes in microtubes.




Illustrations covering the different types of micropipets (Gilson/Rainin, Ulster and Oxford) included in SEP kits.




Gel Electrophoresis

Basic illustrations of the Dye Lab and Gel Lab protocols.

Gel Electrophoresis Visual Guide