Making gels in advance - (Aug/18/2010 )
I'm starting to run a lot of PCR gels recently and it's becoming a pain to make a fresh gel each time. Would I be able to make a bunch of gels in advance and store them for later use? How long would I be able to store them for and would there be any effect on my data? Thanks.
I had the exact same conversation with a colleague of mine a short while ago.
Part of this, I think is personal preference. But, we felt that gels can dry out over time. Therefore, 1-2 days carefully wrapped up in the cold room would be our maximum.
So for us, we've instituted the over-night rule: Figure out the number of gels you think you would run the next day, and prepare them at least the night before.
And if you can't use them, then do your best to run them the day after.
Again, that's just our preference. So far, it's worked for us.
I usually prepare 20-30 gels once a month and store them in TBE buffer (or whatever buffer you use for gels) at 4C in a tupper box. You can obviously not store them on air or wrapped in saran wrap, they will dry out. For me storage works well since many years. They are stable for at least 4 weeks, when you use EtBr (haven't tried other dyes, and won't).