Monoclonal Vs. Polyclonal Antibodies – Choosing the Right Secondary Antibody

Antibodies have been an important part of biological studies and research for many years. They are used to study proteins. Also, their methods of production and usage have led to a powerful technology. Though both monoclonal and polyclonal are considered an important secondary antibody for laboratory researches, the latter is often given preference for its exclusive benefits.

Continue reading to further look into the composition, nature, and advantages associated with monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies.

What Are Monoclonal Antibodies?

Much like monospecific antibodies, monoclonal antibodies are created by similar immune cells. These cells are a replica of a unique parent cell. These laboratory-produced antibodies can locate, identify, and bind to particular molecules. For instance, they can bind to TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor), a special protein responsible for the damage and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

Monoclonal antibodies are created to identify and get attached to certain proteins on the surface of cells. Every monoclonal antibody is able to identify a single protein. Thus, different types of monoclonal antibodies have to be designed to target varied kinds of cancer.

Designing monoclonal antibodies in laboratories is a complicated, expensive process that requires sophisticated, advanced equipment and extensive expertise. In this process, cells are placed in huge stainless steel tubes filled with certain nutrients. Once these antibodies are produced, a number of testing procedures are used to ensure their purity.

What Are Polyclonal Antibodies?

When compared to monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies offer superior advantages with reference to secondary antibody. Polyclonal antibodies signify a group of antibodies that is created from B cell clones. Normally, animals like goats, rabbits, or sheep are injected with certain antigens that evoke an immune response. However, larger mammals are usually preferred for the production of polyclonal antibodies as they allow for the collection of a greater amount of serum.

These antibodies are easy to produce and cost-effective. Moreover, their production procedures don’t require any sophisticated equipment, special training, or expertise. This is the reason why this secondary antibody is widely preferred as a laboratory reagent.

Contrary to monoclonal antibodies, it is not possible to collect polyclonal antibodies for an indefinite time period. You may even have to immunize multiple mammals with the same antigen to produce this antibody.

A Look at Differences

One of the basic reasons to prefer polyclonal antibodies over monoclonal antibodies is their capability to identify numerous epitopes on a particular antigen. A few other advantages of both monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies are listed below: 

Features of Monoclonal Antibodies


The production of monoclonal antibodies required advanced technology, trained personnel, and special skills. Also, their production procedures are time-consuming and a bit complicated.


Monoclonal antibodies denote a particular antibody molecule. This antibody gets attached to antigens with the same affinity and encourages the same effect or functions.

Cross Reactions

Monoclonal antibodies are likely to show unanticipated crossreactions with certain unrelated antigens.

Additional Features

Since monoclonal antibodies have batch-to-batch homogeneity, it is possible to design and produce large amounts of identical antibodies. These antibodies can produce better results in examinations where protein levels are required to be quantified.

Features of Polyclonal Antibodies


These antibodies are easy and inexpensive to produce. They don’t demand any special or advanced technology and skills. They have a short production time scale.


The average affinity of polyclonal antibodies is greater than that of monoclonal antibodies.

Additional Features

Polyclonal antibodies are easy to store. Being highly stable antibodies, they tolerate buffer or pH changes well. With their ability to detect numerous epitopes, they allow for better and more robust detection. Since multiple polyclonal antibodies get attached to multiple epitopes, they can easily detect proteins that are present in low amounts in a sample.

Monoclonal antibodies can prove to be a better choice for applications involving diagnostics and drug development as they require huge amounts of identical antibodies. However, for common research applications, polyclonal antibodies are preferred over monoclonal antibodies with reference to secondary antibody.

If you’re looking for quality, reliable, and refined formats of antibodies, then Affinity Biological Inc. (ABI) is the source you can trust. Offering a vast range of antibodies for numerous applications, including immunoblotting, immuno-depletion, immunoprecipitation, immunoelectrophoresis, and others, the company manufactures varied products used in hemostasis and thrombosis research and diagnostics.