GelRed® is an ultra sensitive, extremely stable and environmentally safe fluorescent nucleic acid dye designed to replace the highly toxic ethidium bromide (EtBr) for staining dsDNA, ssDNA or RNA in agarose gels or polyacrylamide gels.
Safer than EtBr: non-mutagenic and non-hazardous for disposal
Much more sensitive than EtBr and SYBR® Safe
Stable at room temperature and microwavable
Simple precast or post-electrophoresis gel staining, no destaining
Replaces EtBr with no change to equipment or optical settings
Compatible with downstream gel purification, restriction digest, sequencing, and cloning
GelRed®: A Superior Alternative to EtBr
GelRed® is much more sensitive than EtBr, and can be used to stain dsDNA, ssDNA or RNA in agarose gels via either precast or post gel staining without destaining. GelRed® can also be used to stain polyacrylamide gels via post gel staining. GelRed® is also compatible with downstream DNA manipulations such as restriction digest, sequencing, and cloning. GelRed® and EtBr have virtually the same spectra, so you can directly replace EtBr with GelRed® without changing your existing imaging system. For detailed protocols for use, please download the GelRed® Product Information Sheet. Also see our GelRed® and GelGreen® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Non-Mutagenic and Safer for the Environment
A series of safety tests have confirmed that GelRed® is noncytotoxic, nonmutagenic and nonhazardous at concentrations well above the working concentrations used in gel staining. As a result, working strength GelRed® can be safely disposed of down the drain or in regular trash, providing convenience and reducing cost in waste disposal. For detailed test results, you may download the GelRed®/GelGreen® Safety Report.
How Safe is Your Gel Stain?
Many so-called “safe” DNA dyes like SYBR® Safe, Midori Green, GreenSafe, SafeView™, and RedSafe™ not only have low sensitivity, but also readily penetrate living cells to bind DNA, and some are cytotoxic. Unlike these dyes, GelRed® is cell membrane-impermeant, so it cannot enter living cells to interact with their DNA. See our Gel Stains Comparison Flyer or Gel Stains Comparison White Paper for details.
Choose the Right Stain for Your Application
For agarose gels, we recommend using Original GelRed® Nucleic Acid Gel Stain or GelGreen® Nucleic Acid Gel Stain. GelRed® 3X in water is ready-to-use for post-electrophoresis gel staining, and is supplied in a 4L Cubitainer®. Higher concentrations of Original GelRed® are available as 10,000X in water or DMSO. GelRed® in water is a newer, safer formulation and our recommended format. We continue to offer GelRed® in DMSO for established users who do not wish to alter their protocols. We also offer GelRed® Agarose and GelRed® Prestain Plus 6X Loading Dye.
Product / Method Procedure Advantages Disadvantages Recommended for DNA prestaining with GelRed® Prestain Plus 6X DNA Loading Dye GelRed® loading buffer is added directly to the DNA sample before loading • Fast & simple: one-step sample loading & DNA staining
• Less concentrated dye for safer handling
• Can re-run a gel to use empty lanes
• Not recommended for PAGE, DGGE, EMSA, or PFGE gels
• Dye may cause band migration issues when loading larger amounts of DNA (more than ~100 ng/band), or for some restriction digests • Routine agarose gels
• Recommended loading 50-200 ng ladder or 2-5 uL PCR product ( ~100 ng/band or less)
Precast staining with GelRed® 10,000X in water or GelGreen® 10,000X in water
GelRed® or GelGreen® is mixed with molten agarose before gel casting Familiar protocol, rapid results
Precast staining with GelRed® Agarose LE or GelGreen® Agarose LE
Agarose is supplied pre-coated with GelRed® or GelGreen®, just dissolve, heat, and pour Safer & more convenient, no need to handle concentrated dye
Post-electrophoresis staining with GelRed® 10,000X in water or GelGreen® 10,000X in water
– or –
GelRed® 3X in water
No fluorescent dye is added to the gel, it is stained in 3X GelRed® or 3X GelGreen® solution after electrophoresis • Most accurate sizing/sharpest bands
• Staining solution can be re-used
• Enhance sensitivity by adding NaCl Extra staining step (up to 30 minutes) after electrophoresis (some customers report good results after only 5 minutes if dye is not reused) • Highly accurate band sizing
• Gels with more than ~100 ng DNA per band
• Analyzing restriction digests
Post-electrophoresis staining of PAGE gels using PAGE GelRed® 10,000X or 1X in water No fluorescent dye is added to the gel, it is stained in 1X PAGE GelRed® solution after electrophoresis • Formulated for efficient penetration and staining of polyacrylamide gels
• Like the classic GelRed®, it is safe and environmentally friendly Extra staining step of approx. 30 minutes after electrophoresis Staining of nucleic acids in PAGE gels
Also see GelGreen® Nucleic Acid Gel Stain, a safer replacement for SYBR® gel stains, which is compatible with visible light excitation.
For more information, view our DNA Gel Stains Technology Page.
GelRed® and its uses are covered by granted and/or pending US and International patents. GelRed and EvaGreen are registered trademarks of Biotium, Inc. SafeView is a trademark of Applied Biological Materials; RedSafe is a trademark of iNtRON Biotechnology. SYBR is a registered trademark of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Cubitainer is a registered trademark of Hedwin Corporation.