What is DNA? Can you see it? How about extracting it?

Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is composed of the four basic building blocks adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). DNA holds the recipes for the building blocks of life within our cells and organs and every single cell in a living organism, be it bacteria, plants, animals or us, contains DNA. Do you want to find out more about DNA? Here’s a video.

Did you know that you can extract DNA from fruit like strawberries using simple household items? Watch the video or read the instructions to try it yourself.

Tips for the experiment:

  • If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, most spirits (e. g. vodka or rum) will do as well, the higher the alcohol content, the better. Just make sure to cool it down in the freezer
  • Don’t have strawberries at hand? Why not trying different fruits or plants? For example, bananas, kiwis or spinach can be used as well. Sturdier plants like spinach might need the help of a blender to break down the cell walls. You could try different fruits and see, which plants yield the most DNA!
  • Do you have pineapples at home? Try squeezing some fresh pineapple juice to your filtered liquid containing the DNA. Pineapple juice has enzymes that break down proteins and thus helps purifying the DNA
  • And as always: Try different things out! What happens, if you leave out certain ingredients or change the amounts of some of the ingredients? Which fruits yield the most DNA?

More resources on DNA extraction

Want to extract spinach DNA? Click here.

 And if you want to find out how to extract DNA from any cell, try this link.

By Daniel Sachs