How To: Extract DNA from a Strawberry with Basic Kitchen Items

Extract DNA from a Strawberry with Basic Kitchen Items

We all know that DNA is pretty amazing, but it's not something that most of us get much hands-on experience with. Even though it's in every living thing around us, we never see it, so we rarely think about it either.

A strawberry is one of the easiest things to extract DNA from, so if you've ever wondered what it looks like, that's a good place to start. Strawberries have a higher amount of DNA than other fruits, and they're octoploid, which means they have 8 copies of each type of chromosome (humans only have two).

Using a simple solution of water, dish soap, and salt, you can break apart the protein chains that hold together the DNA strands and separate them from the rest of the berry. You'll also need a Ziploc bag and some ice cold isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

DNA dissolves in water, but not in alcohol, so when the rubbing alcohol is added, the DNA forms clumps and separates from the rest of the solution. Check out the video to see how it's done.

You can do this experiment with other fruits and vegetables, but you may not get as much DNA (bananas also work well). In order to take the experiment further, you need a pretty good understanding of genetics (and some really expensive equipment).

Regardless, you can still say you spent your afternoon extracting DNA, which is pretty freaking cool. No one needs to know how easy it was. Check out the guide over on Steve Spangler Science to learn more.

Photo by BLDUMMY, Jeff Kubina

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