Classification, Laboratory Tools, and Techniques

Which radioisotope is most commonly used for biological specimens?

The most widely used radioisotope in autoradiography is tritium (3H). Tritium allows a resolution of about 1 micrometer with the light microscope and close to 0.1 micrometer with the electron microscope.

Since hydrogen is common in biological molecules, a wide-range of 3H-labeled compounds are potentially available for use in autoradiography. 3H-amino acids are used for locating newly synthesized proteins, 3H-thymidine is used to monitor DNA synthesis, ribonucleiodies such as 3H-uridine or 3H-cytidine are used to localize newly made RNA molecules, and 3H-glucose is used to study the synthesis of polysaccharides.


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