Segregation in DNA solutions induced by electric fields

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Science  13 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5195, pp. 219-222
DOI: 10.1126/science.7809626


DNA solutions subjected to an electric field exhibit an instability that leads to DNA segregation in aggregates tilted with regard to the field. With the use of epifluorescence videomicroscopy, the evolution of DNA patterns in capillaries as a function of DNA concentration, DNA size, field strength, and field frequency was studied. The field threshold for segregation was decreased when the frequency was lowered or when the DNA molecular weight or concentration was increased. Aggregation is attributed to an electrohydrodynamic instability triggered by the dipole-dipole interaction. This phenomenon explains the failure of earlier attempts to separate large DNA in capillaries.