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A transilluminator is a key laboratory device used primarily for viewing and analyzing gels in molecular biology and genetics. It emits ultraviolet or blue light, illuminating fluorescently-stained DNA, RNA, or protein samples for easy visualization and photography. This tool is crucial for applications such as electrophoresis, where it helps in assessing the success of nucleic acid separation and quantification.

Transilluminators are designed with features to enhance user safety and sample integrity. They often include protective covers or shields to minimize exposure to harmful UV light and filter plates that improve the contrast of fluorescent markers against the background. Adjustable intensity settings allow for the fine-tuning of light levels to prevent DNA damage during examination, which is critical for subsequent procedures like cloning and sequencing.

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