Electrophoresis is a laboratory procedure that separates molecules. The molecules are suspended in fluid and an electrical charge is introduced into the liquid. Electrophoresis is not a procedure that an individual will come in contact with unless they study or work in a science-related industry. For example, DNA laboratories use this method to separate molecules for analysis. DNA analysis is just one possible application for electrophoresis. It is an essential technique applicable in most sciences.
Medical laboratories use electrophoresis to diagnosis blood disorders 1. Hemoglobin is the component in blood that moves oxygen around the body. When doctors suspect a patient has a genetic blood disorder, such as sickle cell anemia, hemoglobin electrophoresis separates the hemoglobin types for examination 1. This helps to identify abnormal hemoglobin. One characteristic of sickle cell anemia is a specific type of hemoglobin, and this is true with many blood disorders. The separation allows technicians to locate each blood factor and make a diagnosis. As a patient, you benefit from simplified diagnostic procedures and quicker treatment.
Electrophoresis is a fast and easy technique. The improvements in this field enable technicians in a laboratory to perform electrophoresis will little effort. Modern labs use gel solutions as the conductor for the electrical charge. This benefits everyone, because the separation is quick and easy once the specimen becomes available. Doctors waiting for test results to provide emergency care benefit for the ease of the procedure.
The material necessary to perform electrophoresis costs little and is easy to prepare. According to Molecular Station, the common media for electrophoresis, gel, is straightforward to mix and pour. Supply cost is one factor in the expense of laboratory testing. When procedures use low-cost material, which translates to the patient during billing.
Of all the benefits electrophoresis offers, reliability is the most essential. The technique is fast, simple and it works. If done correctly, electrophoresis will separate all molecules in a specimen. For a technician, the ability to rely on a technique makes their job easier and allows for effective results. DNA testing and analysis is a complicated process, but one that allows for forensic identifications, species analysis and diagnosis of disease. Electrophoresis helps make that happen.
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