FAQ: Is extended digestion (incubation times > 1 hour) recommended?

The unit definition of our restriction enzymes is based on a 1 hour incubation. Incubation time may be shortened if additional units of restriction enzyme are added to the reaction. Conversely, longer incubation times are often used to allow a reaction to proceed to completion with fewer units of enzyme. This is contingent on how long a particular enzyme can survive (maintain activity) in a reaction. Some enzymes survive for long periods (> 16 hours) while others survive only an hour or less in a reaction. For each restriction enzyme, we report the minimum number of units (1.0, 0.5, 0.25 or 0.13) required to digest 1 µg of substrate DNA in 16 hours. Enzymes that require less than 1 unit can be used at lower concentrations for extended incubation times. Note that DNA substrates are digested at varying rates, the actual number of units required for a complete digestion will change from substrate to substrate. Check individual restriction enzyme information before extending reaction times, as those that exhibit star activity should be used under recommended conditions to inhibit noncanonical cleavage.