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Archive of SEPGuides (5.1.2017): Gel Electrophoresis Kit

Table of Contents

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.

Extra Resources

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

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


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.

Clip Art and Graphics

These downloadable clip art images can be used for creating your own resources.

Microtube 250ul


Microtube Volumes

Downloadable clipart of microtubes filled with various quantities of liquid to help teachers and students "eyeball" different amounts.






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.


Micropipet Certified StickersMicropipet Certified Stamp

This image can be used as a stamp or sticker given to students for learning proper micropipetting techiniques.

Kit Description

Gel electrophoresis is a commonly use tool for separating macromolecules (DNA, RNA, proteins) and their fragments based on size, shape, and charge. This kit allows students to use this technique to analyze the dyes used in sample loading buffers and DNA fragments.

  • SEP has 12 Gel Electrophoresis Kits and 2 Equipment-only KitsTypes Micropipets for Each Gel Kit
  • Each Gel Kit has 3 crates.
  • Don't forget your Freezer Box!
  • Labs are designed for classes of 32 students. (Make sure to tell us if your class is significantly different in size.)
  • The Gel Kits can support any of these labs.
    • Measure for Measure
    • Electrophoresis Exploration
    • Dye/Indicator Lab
    • DNA Lab 1: Precut DNA
      • DNA Lab 1 (forensics)
    • DNA Lab 2: DNA Restriction Enzyme Digest
    • *Elephant Conservation (requires additional reservation of the Elephant Trunk)

Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure resources can be found on the Micropipet Kit page here:

Measure for Measure is a introductory activities for students who are new to micropipetting. This lesson introduces the 2-stops on a micropipet, the various ranges of different micropipets, and how to read and adjust the volume. Measure for Measure comes in 3 versions that differ by brand of pipet. Refer to the table in the section above to check which micropipets you will be getting in each kit.


Micropipet Cards (provided in the kits as laminated sheets)

Micropipet Quizzes 

These are assessments that can be used to test your students ability to read and set a micropipet. The answer sheets are the last page of each document.

Electrophoresis Exploration

The purpose of this lab is to introduce students to the gel electrophoresis equipment and the principles of electrophoresis. This activity is designed as an inquiry lab for students, and allows them to explore the concepts of conductivity, chemistry, and buffers.

Dye/Indicator Lab

Dye Gel

Complex mixtures of molecules can be separated by electric charge, size, and shape using gel electrophoresis. In this lab, student will run gels with dyes that vary in size, shape, and charge.

Notebook Resources

Extra Resources

Useful dye-related articles to share with students before the lab.

DNA Lab 1 - DNA Precut by Restriction Enzymes

In DNA Lab 1, students become proficient in using gel electrophoresis while connecting concepts about DNA, enzymes, and charge. In this lab, students will run gel electrophoresis on precut lambda DNA and observe the differing banding patterns. Using a ladder, they can determine the approximate size of each fragment.

Teacher Materials

Student Materials

DNA Staining

Extra Resources

DNA Lab 2 - Restriction Enzyme Digest

DNA restriction enzyme digest is a useful tool when analyzing DNA. In this lab students will be performing their own enzyme digest and comparing the resulting band patterns in their gels.

DNA Staining