End-Labeled Free-Solution Electrophoresis (ELFSE)
Using electrophoresis, DNA fragments can be separated by length in a nanoporous medium, such as a gel or a polymer solution. Gel-free (free-solution) electrophoresis is simpler and faster, but in free solution the electrophoretic velocities of all but the shortest DNA fragments are the same and thus separation is impossible. In theory, attaching identical neutral or positively charged “labels” (or “drag-tags”) to the DNAs should enable their separation, as smaller DNAs are slowed down more than larger ones. This method, called end-labeled free-solution electrophoresis (ELFSE), is promising, yet there are many technical complications. In collaboration with the experimental group of Prof. Annelise Barron we are trying to understand better various aspects of ELFSE, in particular, the role of interaction between the label and the DNA.