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Research Paper

Modeling and Experimental Validation of DNA Motion in Uniform and Nonuniform DC Electric Fields

[+] Author and Article Information
Regis A. David, Larry L. Howell

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602

Brian D. Jensen1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602bdjensen@byu.edu

Justin L. Black, Sandra H. Burnett

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602

1

Corresponding author.

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med 1(4), 041007 (Oct 22, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002321 History: Received July 19, 2010; Revised July 29, 2010; Published October 22, 2010; Online October 22, 2010

We are developing a new technique to insert foreign DNA into a living cell using a microelectromechanical system. This new technique relies on electrical forces to move DNA in a nonuniform electric field. To better understand this phenomenon, we perform integrated modeling and experiments of DNA electrophoresis. This paper describes the protocol and presents the results for DNA motion experiments using fabricated gel electrophoresis devices. We show that DNA motion is strongly correlated with ion transport (current flow) in the system. A better understanding of electrophoretic fundamentals allows for the creation of a mathematical model to predict the motion of DNA during electrophoresis in both uniform and nonuniform electric fields. The mathematical model is validated within 4% through comparison with the experimental results.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

A schematic representation of a typical gel electrophoresis

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Figure 2

Ohm’s law in metallic conductors and in electrolytes

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Figure 3

Gel electrophoresis devices

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Figure 4

Effects of voltage on current in 30 mg agarose/10 ml PBS

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Figure 5

Effects of voltage on current in 30 mg agarose/10 ml PBS

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Figure 6

Illustration of geometry, mesh, and point charge at the centroid of each triangular mesh element

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Figure 7

DNA motion for each image for the experiment conducted at 1.5 V on day 2. The estimated displaced measurement error bars are added. Compare with Fig. 8. The velocity is indistinguishable from zero at this voltage.

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Figure 8

DNA motion for each image for the experiment conducted at 4 V on day 2. The estimated displaced measurement error bars are added.

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Figure 9

Voltage versus velocity data for all experiments as defined in Table 2. The model prediction can be compared with experimental data in PBS (voltage versus velocity).

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Figure 10

Effects of voltage on current in 30 mg agarose/10 ml TAE

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Figure 11

Modeling results compared with experimental data in TAE (voltage versus velocity). The good agreement validates the model’s predictions for varying solution molarity.

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Figure 12

Modeling results compared with experimental data in TAE (voltage versus velocity) for smaller DNA molecules compared with Fig. 1. The good agreement validates the model’s predictions for varying DNA molecule size.

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Figure 13

Comparison of DNA trajectory lines (steel-steel in 9 cm by 7.5 cm box—60 min in 10 V)

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