Leftover polyacrylamide gel from an electrophoresis procedure formed this flower shape thanks to some funky monomer diffusion. Sudeep Samanta, a PhD candidate at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, noticed the unusual formation as he was disposing of unused gel he had prepared for the experiment. Gel electrophoresis separates molecules such as peptides and nucleic acids by size using an electric current to pull them though a porous gel. Samanta uses the technique regularly in his research. In the experiment that gave rise to this floral arrangement, he used the method to investigate the DNA-cleaving ability of a copper-peptide-ligand conjugate he developed to selectively recognize and break up a type of DNA structure called a G-quadruplex.
Submitted by Sudeep Samanta
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This article was updated on March 14, 2023, to clarify that the Indian Institute of Technology branch that Sudeep Samanta works at is the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.