Analogues of ethidium chloride with large quaternary side chains have been synthesized and evaluated for improved resolution in the dye-buoyant density system for the separation of open and closed circular DNA. These compounds are similar to propidium which differs from ethidium by the replacement of an ethyl group by a methyldiethylaminopropyl group. The new analogues contain a triethylamino group attached to a methylene chain with 3, 5 or 7 carbons. With PM2 DNA the observed separation for propidium is 1.97 times that of ethidium and the new dyes show separations relative to ethidium of 2.27, 2.66 and 2.77. A correlation is established between the mass of the dye component and the observed separation which is rationalized on the basis of the four component thermodynamics describing this system.
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