Phenanthridine is a nitrogen heterocyclic compound that is the basis of DNA-binding fluorescent dyes through intercalation. Examples of such dyes are ethidium bromide and propidium iodide. Acridine is an isomer of phenanthridine. In the Pictet–Hubert reaction (1899) the compound is formed in a reaction of the 2-aminobiphenyl – formaldehyde adduct (an N-acyl-o-xenylamine) with zinc chloride at elevated temperatures.
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