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Magnetic-activated Cell Sorting (MACS) is a technique used to separate various cell populations based on their surface antigens. Magnetic nanoparticles are coated with antibodies against specific surface antigens. This allows the cells expressing this antigen to attach to them. This is followed by placing the cell solution in a column which is under the influence of strong magnetic fields. Cells expressing the antigen stay in the column while others to flow through. Like FACS, MACS can be used in may different fields that require isolation of pure populations of cells based on marker expression, but doesn't require a cell sorter and cna be performed at the bench. In some cases, the purity of a cell population resulting from MACS can be lower than FACS, but MACS can be gentler on cells than FACS. MACS is a registered trademark of Miltenyi Biotec. (Credit: Muhammad Atif Khan)
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