How it all began: A personal history of gel electrophoresis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Arne Tiselius’ moving boundary electrophoresis method was still in general use in 1951 when this personal history begins, although zonal electrophoresis with a variety of supporting media (e.g., filter paper or starch grains) was beginning to replace it. This chapter is an account of 10 years of experiments carried out by the author during which molecular sieving gel electrophoresis was developed and common genetic variants of two proteins, haptoglobin and transferrin, were discovered in normal individuals. Most of the figures are images of pages from the author’s laboratory notebooks, which are still available, so that some of the excitement of the time and the humorous moments are perhaps apparent. Alkaline gels, acidic gels with and without denaturants, vertical gels, two-dimensional gels and gels with differences in starch concentration are presented. The subtle details that can be discerned in these various gels played an indispensable role in determining the nature of the change in the haptoglobin gene (Hp) that leads to the polymeric series characteristic of Hp2/Hp2 homozygotes. Where possible the names of scientific friends who made this saga of gel electrophoresis so memorable and enjoyable are gratefully included.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Pages1-21
Number of pages21
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
Volume1855
ISSN (Print)1064-3745

Fingerprint

Electrophoresis
Gels
Haptoglobins
Starch
Homozygote
Transferrin
Names
Genes
Proteins

Keywords

  • Denaturing gel
  • Filter paper
  • Haptoglobin
  • Insulin
  • Serum proteins
  • Starch gel
  • Transferrin
  • Two-dimensional gel
  • Vertical gel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Smithies, O. (2019). How it all began: A personal history of gel electrophoresis. In Methods in Molecular Biology (pp. 1-21). (Methods in Molecular Biology; Vol. 1855). Humana Press Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-8793-1_1

How it all began : A personal history of gel electrophoresis. / Smithies, Oliver.

Methods in Molecular Biology. Humana Press Inc., 2019. p. 1-21 (Methods in Molecular Biology; Vol. 1855).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Smithies, O 2019, How it all began: A personal history of gel electrophoresis. in Methods in Molecular Biology. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1855, Humana Press Inc., pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-8793-1_1
Smithies O. How it all began: A personal history of gel electrophoresis. In Methods in Molecular Biology. Humana Press Inc. 2019. p. 1-21. (Methods in Molecular Biology). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-8793-1_1
Smithies, Oliver. / How it all began : A personal history of gel electrophoresis. Methods in Molecular Biology. Humana Press Inc., 2019. pp. 1-21 (Methods in Molecular Biology).
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