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Polyclonal or Monoclonal Antibodies?

The first step in identifying the optimal antibody production strategy or service to meet your needs is to decide whether you are better served with a polyclonal or monoclonal antibody. The general advantages and disadvantages of each are outlined below.

GenScript offers a complete portfolio of both Polyclonal and Monoclonal antibody packages including our most popular PolyExpress™ Antibody Services and MonoExpress™ Antibody Services. To select the optimal package to meet your individual needs, please refer to the full Service Selection Guide.

Polyclonal Antibodies

Polyclonal antibodies are produced by different B cells in a host animal and recognize multiple epitopes of a single antigen. The most common choices of antigens are protein or synthetic peptide (How to choose). Polyclonal antibodies can be produced in large quantities in a short time, without complicated technologies, and at low cost, making it suitable for most basic research purposes.

Advantages
  • Robust target signal, even for low expression protein
  • Low cost
  • Short production time
  • Better results in IP/ChIP, and WB
  • More tolerant to changes to the antigen (denature, polymorphism, heterogeneity of glycosylation)
  • More likely to detect across a range of species
  • Useful for non-characterized antigens
Disadvantages
  • Prone to batch to batch variability
  • Possible higher background in certain applications

Monoclonal Antibodies

In contrast to polyclonal antibodies, which are produced by multiple immune cells, monoclonal antibodies are generated by identical immune cells which are clones of a single parent cell. This means that the antibody recognizes only a single epitope of an antigen and is extremely specific. Monoclonal antibodies are typically produced by fusing myeloma cells with spleen cells from the mouse immunized with the target antigen to produce a hybridoma. Each hybridoma is then grown separately to produce colonies of identical daughter cells. This allows researchers to collect and compare the antibodies secreted by each hybridoma to select the most optimal ones for their ultimate detection or purification goals.

Monoclonal antibodies are better suited for projects with the requirement for high specificity to the antigens or for Antibody Drug Development.

Advantages
  • Highly specific recognition of only one epitope of an antigen
  • Immortal hybridoma cell lines have the ability to produce unlimited quantities of antibodies
  • High consistency among experiments
  • Minimal background noise and cross-reactivity
  • Excellent for affinity purification
Disadvantages
  • More expensive
  • Longer production time
  • Possible lower signal
  • More vulnerable to loss of epitope through chemical treatment of the antigen. This can be offset by pooling two or more monoclonal antibodies

Comprehensive Antibody Service Portfolio (Selection Guide)

 
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