Protocol Online logo
Top : Forum Archives: : Molecular Cloning

dna staining dyes - which DNA staining dyes do you use (Jan/16/2007 )

Hi all,

because of safety concerns, we are trying to replace ethidium bromide that we use for DNA staining with something safer. I checked the internet and there seem to be a number of alternatives. Which do you use? What advantages and disadvantages do the other dyes have? Are you able to use the same detection systems (transilluminator, etc.) that you used with ethidium bromide? Any reply will be greatly appreciated.



ooo... since you are looking up this subject would you mind reporting your finding to the board, please? smile.gif

I've checked the LD50 for Etdium bromide : (oral,rat): 1503 mg/kg (msds fisher)
SYBR Safe dye > 5,000 mg/kg Oral LD50 Rat (msds invitrogene)

so it would seem that EtBr is actually 'safer' then SYBR safe. However I have not included the relative amounts used for staining.And this will have great importance to safety


Well, my college environmental chemistry knowledge tells me that if an LD50 value of some chemical is lower than that of another's then the first one is more lethal, because you need a smaller dose to kill the same number of test subjects or another way around, the same dose kills more subjects than the second chemical. So therefore considering the values you posted, Sybr Safe is "safer" as its name would imply. Otherwise there are a number of other "safer" dyes on the market (GelStar from Cambrex, GelGreen and GelRed from Biotium, SybrGold and SybrGreen from Invitrogen to name just a few) but I am not sure if they can be used with the same detection imaging system as we use for ethidium bromide (in our case MiniBis PRO from DNR Bio-imaging Systems). Someone here says that Sybr Safe works fine, so I am going to look into it more thoroughly and will report back.

Regards, Miha


ack sorry, my mistake.


We've switched over to SybrSafe for all our gels. We can use standard EtBr filters and the Clare Darkreader with no problems. Sensitivity is comparable to EtBr.