Nucleic Acid (DNA/RNA) Detection, Quantitation, and Analysis

Quantitate and analyze nucleic acids in a microplate format

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What are nucleic acids?

Nucleic acids are large, complex biomolecules found in cells. They serve as the genetic material of living organisms and contain the instructions for the formation and function of all living things. They are generally found in two naturally occurring forms: DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid).


DNA and RNA are composed of nucleotides, each of which consists of a 5-carbon sugar, a nitrogenous base, and a phosphate group. DNA is formed by a double strand of paired nucleotides, while ribonucleic acid (RNA) is typically a single strand. In DNA, the nucleotides are adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine, while RNA contains uracil instead of thymine. Sequences of DNA nucleotides are organized into units called genes, which contain the information encoding individual proteins. DNA for a gene is transcribed to make an RNA copy of the gene, which then serves as the template for synthesis of the protein.

DNA damage and mutations that alter the sequence of genes can result in malfunctioning proteins that disrupt normal cellular function. Cancer is a prime example of how genetic mutations can disrupt the normal regulation of cellular behavior, leading to uncontrolled cell growth. Research into the function of genes and the genetic changes that give rise to disease will continue to lead to new therapeutics.

Nucleic acid detection and quantification methods

Nucleic acid is often purified from cells as part of an ever-growing array of molecular biology methods, including sequencing and gene editing. Before they are used in downstream applications, nucleic acids are detected and quantitated using UV or fluorescence spectrophotometry. Traditionally measured individually in cuvettes, sample analysis is now routinely performed in microplates.

Molecular Devices provides a complete workflow solution for nucleic acid detection, quantitation, and analysis. Our application notes demonstrate the quantitation and analysis of nucleic acids in a microplate format, offering higher throughput compared to other methods, as well as automated calculation of results.

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