Optimization of PEGDA Hydrogel Platform for Gel Electrophoresis Application
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We have developed a micrometer scale thick electrophoresis system based on polyethylene glycol dimethylacrylate (PEGDA, Mn = 750) to separate nucleic acids. Using photo-polymerization, we fabricated PEGDA hydrogel attached to cover glass that is robust, easily handled and comparable to agarose gels in DNA band detection. Optimization parameters including PEGDA concentration, UV exposure time, voltage, run-time and hydrogel thickness were determined and optimized for PEGDA-750 to enable the separation of standard DNA ladder bands ranging from 250 to 1000 base pairs. Our optimized method for creating PEGDA hydrogels is capable of performing DNA electrophoresis and holds promise for being further developed as a platform for detecting specific ranges of nucleic acids. This study enhanced parameters surrounding DNA band separation and brightness, and refined fabrication methods. PEDGA hydrogels hold potential to be a highly customizable alternative to agarose gels because of their distinct photo- polymerization fabrication method and attachment to cover glass.