I use DNA green viewer in Lab to see DNA and RNA bands. Some peers told me it is carcinogenic and is not safe. Is this correct? If yes, are there better choices to use in working with gel?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you please add the exact name of the dye you're using, "DNA green viewer" is not specific enough. I would guess that you mean SYBR Green, but there are probably a lot more green fluorescent dyes for nucleic acids. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2013 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ I know it is not SYBR but I don't know more about this. It is just name, DNA green viewer on micro tube. $\endgroup$
    – user2968
    Jan 22, 2013 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ How do you image the dye? SYBR and EtBr use difference wavelengths. $\endgroup$
    – bobthejoe
    Jan 22, 2013 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ @bobthejoe we have to use a color filter over the gel, orange I think. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Jan 29, 2013 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


SYBR green is designed to be much less carcinogenic than ethidium bromide (EtBr).

All these gel dyes work by intercalating themselves into the DNA stack between the bases specifically which has a great potential for causing mutations and messing with the workings of the nucleus. My remembrance is that the SYBR and GelGreen/Red etc dyes are large and relatively hydrophilic and can't find their way into the nucleus, greatly reducing their toxicity. They also do not transfer energy to the DNA itself due to their structure and so also cause less DNA damage when being viewed on a transilluminator.


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