Running the MiniOne Gel Electrophoresis at Home
by Su-Lin, DIY Bio Home Enthusiast
The MiniOne system is a very convenient to use system for Gel Electrophoresis experiments at home. It contains everything you pretty much need to run the gel, and leaves you to focus your time and effort on the actual experiment setups and objectives you want to observe and achieve.
I used to build my own Gel Electrophoresis system using a small flat box, some 9V batteries, platinum wires (expensive!), and cut out foam blocks for the wells. Then I have to buy reagents (gel, buffer, loading dye, DNA stain) to run the gels. A lot of time is actually spent on experiment procedures such as measuring out the gel powder, mixing with the measured right amount of buffer, heating and melting, cooling, pouring into the gel tray. After running the gel, I still don’t know if it works or not, because the DNA is simply not visible. Hence a DNA stain protocol has to be applied to visualize the results, which could take hours later. This I would say is the most frustrating part, not knowing the results quickly.
The MiniOne system provides an amazing all-in-one solution to run the gel. The most significant benefits that personally impacted my experience are the following:
- All components to run the gel are in 1 package: Gel-in-a-cup, buffer, gel tray and casting system, power supply, electrodes, DNA stain.
- The prepared agarose and GelGreen stain in the Gel-in-a-cup avoids the time consuming process of measuring the agarose powder, and mixing with the right amount of buffer, what a brilliant idea!
- The loading of the well is made so visible with the blue light from the MiniOne box. This is so awesome! No more guess work when loading wells. In the home made box, it was really hard to see the wells and sometimes it is not loaded properly.
- DNA results are avail immediately once the power is turned on. The GelGreen fluoresces under the blue light emitted from the MiniOne box, and the green fluorescent can be filtered out and observed clearly with the hood provided. Photos can be taken right away. This, I would say, is the best feature of the MiniOne system!
What took me more than 5hrs can now be run under 2hrs. The bulk of the time is spent on your actual experiment preparation of the DNA samples that you want to run. Once these vials are ready, you just need to microwave the Gel-in-a-cup, pour and cast the gel, pour the buffer, load the wells, and off you go. I highly recommend this system for DIY Bio home enthusiast to run DNA gel experiments. It is well worth the investment and takes away all the frustrations.
Below are some pictures I took on a run with some DNA ladders and DNA samples.
Running of the gel with photo hood on. The photo hood triggers the system to run.
Gel results can be seen through the hood immediately.
This photo is taken from the window on top of the photo hood as the power is turned on.
Immediate results, amazing, unbelievable!