Biological Research Author: Holly Ahern

It's the type of problem that crops up in cell biology, molecular biology, and neuroscience laboratories constantly. Hidden amid a compendium of compounds in a crude cell extract is a protein that researchers have sought since its gene was cloned months before. Perhaps the protein is an enzyme for which the catalytic mechanism has not yet been determined. Or maybe the compound is a recombinant protein that shows promise as a pharmaceutical agent. In either case, before further experiments can be performed, the biomolecule must be separated from the other substances in the cell extract and purified.

Chromatography techniques provide scientists with the required tools for separating and purifying biological molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids, from solutions that may contain hundreds or thousands of different substances. "Chromatography has been utilized for decades to perform biological separations," says Richard P. Cunningham, a professor of...

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