Intercalation of Base Analogs
Acridine dyes are histological stains with planar three-ring structures
resemble purine /
pyrimidine base pairs. If these base analogs
intercalate ("slip") into the DNA molecule
between two adjacent base pairs, the intercalated molecule
may cause DNAPol to "stutter" and copy the molecule as an extra
base pair. This introduces a frameshift mutation.
Ethidium bromide (EtBr ) is widely used in molecular biology as a specific dye for staining DNA: the intercalated molecule fluoresces on exposure to ultraviolet light. EtBr may be incorporated into electrophoretic gels, or the gel may be stained after running. In Bio2250 labs, care should always be taken not to expose oneself to either gels or buffer containing EtBr.