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One of the distinctive biochemical features of apoptosis is the cleavage of DNA by a specific nuclease called caspase-activated DNase (CAD). During apoptosis, the DNA strand is cleaved by CAD and generates a number of DNA fragmentations of 180-200 base pairs known as DNA ladders. These DNA fragments can be extracted from the cells and visualized using agarose gel electrophoresis. Agarose gel electrophoresis is a simple technique but generally able to provide robust results. In order to compare the degree of apoptosis between experimental samples, more quantitative methods need to be combined.
Figure 1. Apoptosis-induce DNA fragmentation.
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