Visualizing nucleic acids by gel electrophoresis is one of the most common techniques in molecular biology, and reference molecular weight markers or ladders are commonly used for size estimation. We have created the pPSU1 & pPSU2 pair of molecular weight marker plasmids which produce both 100 bp and 1 kb DNA ladders when digested with two common restriction enzymes. The 100 bp ladder fragments have been optimized to migrate appropriately on both agarose and native polyacrylamide, unlike many currently available DNA ladders. Sufficient plasmid DNA can be isolated from 100 ml E. coli cultures for the two plasmids to produce 100 bp or 1 kb ladders for 1000 gels. As such, the pPSU1 and pPSU2 plasmids provide reference fragments from 50 to 10000 bp at a fraction of the cost of commercial DNA ladders. The pPSU1 and pPSU2 plasmids are available without licensing restrictions to nonprofit academic users, affording freely available high-quality, low-cost molecular weight standards for molecular biology applications.
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