The Reliant® Fastlane™ Gels are available in either TBE (Tris-Borate-EDTA) or TAE (Tris-Acetate-EDTA) buffer, with either 1% or 2.5% SeaKem Agarose and either 12 or 24 wells. The following combinations are available: 1% TBE with 12 wells, 2.5% TBE with 12 wells, 2.5% TBE with 24 wells, 1% TAE with 12 wells, 1% TBE with 24 wells. All gels contain ethidium bromide and are supplied in a UV transparent tray with 100 mL of the appropriate buffer (i.e. 1X TBE or TAE). The Reliant® Fastlane™ Gels and Fastlane™ Gel Chamber can be purchased separately, but it is more convenient to just purchase both items in the Reliant® Fastlane™ Starter Kit.
To use the gels, first open the gel pouch, take out the gel in its tray and place it in the gel chamber, making sure to fit it squarely in the center of the raised chamber platform. Next, open up the corresponding running buffer and distribute it evenly throughout the chamber by tipping it back and forth. I add some ethidium bromide to the running buffer. As opposed to running your own homemade agarose gels, these precast gels do not need to be submerged in the running buffer – the running buffer only needs to touch the bottom half of the agarose gel. Next load your samples. Each well can hold up to 15 ul. For each well, I combine 5 ul of my PCR sample, 9 ul of distilled water, and the remainder amount with the 1x loading buffer dye. After proper loading, put the cover on the chamber. Electrophorese according to the packaged instruction depending on the required running conditions: TBE gels can be run at 225 V for 15 minutes or 170 V for 30 minutes; TAE gels can be run at 180 V for 15 minutes or 160 V for 30 minutes. I tend to run my gels for 30 minutes because of the chance of overheating and melting of the gel when using higher voltages.
When the run is complete, the gel is removed and is ready to be photographed directly in the tray. It is also very easy to excise bands for DNA purification by taking a small razor and cutting out the wanted bands.
Overall, these gels are a very accessible and user friendly. PCR and restriction digest fragments from 10 bp to 10 kb can be accurately resolved using this system.