Friday, August 10, 2007
Ethidium Bromide Is a Dangerous Chemical
Friday's Urban Legend: PROBABLY FALSE
Monday's Molecule #35 from last month was ethidium. The salt, ethidium bromide, is used as a dye to stain DNA [Ethidium Bromide Binds to DNA].
Most of us have heard that ethidium is a potent mutagen so you need to be very careful when using it in the lab. Wear gloves at all times and dispose of any excess ethidium solutions in the proper containers.
According to Rosie Redfield, a microbiologist at the University of British Columbia (Canada), this may have been an overreaction to the presumed dangers of ethidium bromide [Heresy about Ethidium Bromide].
Deoxyrobonucleic Acid (DNA)Apparently ethidium is regularly used as a drug to treat African Sleeping Sickness and it shows no significant ill effects when used at doses that are 1000 times what we use in a typical laboratory.