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Open Access Open Badges Technical Note

Fluorescent dye labeled DNA size standards for molecular mass detection in visible/infrared range

Soni Gupta, Chaitanya Charakana, Yellamaraju Sreelakshmi and Rameshwar Sharma*

Author Affiliations

Department of Plant Sciences, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad 500 046, India

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:12  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-12

Published: 21 January 2011



Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes (TILLING) is a high throughput reverse genetics tool which detects mismatches (single point mutations or small indels) in large number of individuals of mutagenized populations. Currently, TILLING is intensively used for genomics assisted molecular breeding of several crop plants for desired traits. Most commonly used platform for mutation detection is Li-COR DNA Analyzer, where PCR amplified products treated with single strand mismatch specific nuclease are resolved on denaturing gels. The molecular size of any cut product can be easily estimated by comparing with IR dye labeled markers of known sizes. Similar fluorescent dye labeled size markers are also used for several genotyping experiments. Currently, commercially available size standards are expensive and are restricted up to only 700 bp which renders estimation of products of sizes greater than 700 bases inaccurate.


A simple protocol was developed for labeling 5' end of multiple DNA size markers with fluorescent dyes. This method involves cloning a pool of different size markers of DNA in a plasmid vector. PCR amplification of plasmid using IR dye labeled universal primers generates 5' fluorescent labeled products of various sizes. The size of products constituting the ladder can be customized as per the need. The generated size markers can be used without any further purification and were found to be stable up to one year at -20°C.


A simple method was developed for generating fluorescent dye labeled size standards. This method can be customized to generate different size standards as per experimental needs. The protocol described can also be adapted for developing labeled size standards for detection on platforms other than Li-COR i.e. other than infra red range of the spectrum.