To collect separate and collect DNA from a source using common household items.
DNA is present within every living thing, however, cannot usually be seen by the human eye in its natural state. Using this experiment, you will isolate the DNA so it can be seen. You will record your data in a journal and/or take photographs documenting your findings.
- ½ cup split peas
- 1/8 tsp. salt (table variety)
- 1 cup cold distilled water
- Mesh strainer with very tiny holes
- Bowl or cup
- 2 tbsp. liquid detergent
- 3-4 test tubes or thin vases
- Meat tenderizer or contact lens solution
- Rubbing alcohol with at least 70-95% alcohol content
- Wooden BBQ skewers
- Journal or notebook paper
- Digital camera or traditional camera (if available)
Estimated Experiment Time
An hour or two at most.
- 1. Combine the peas, salt and cold distilled water in your blender. Blend on high for at least 15 seconds but no longer than 25-30.
- 2. Assemble your strainer above a bowl or cup and pour the liquid remnants of the peas from the blender through the strainer and into the cup.
- 3. Stir in the liquid detergent, being careful not to over mix. Let stand for ten minutes.
- 4. Fill your test tubes or thin vases about 1/3 of the way full with the pea mixture.
- 5. Sprinkle just a pinch of the meat tenderizer (or just a drop or two of contact lens solution) into each test tube or vase. Stir very gently with a BBQ skewer, being careful not to over stir.
- 6. Gently pour the rubbing alcohol into each test tube or vase, making sure you have about the same amount of alcohol as you do pea mixture.
If you choose to experiment with other sources of DNA, use plant sources only. Do not use any part of any human or animal for your experiment.
The DNA will rise from the pea mixture into the alcohol. You can help it along with the BBQ skewer. DNA will mass together and appears white, clumpy and stringy. Report your findings in your journal and/or take photographs during your experiment.
By utilizing each step in this experiment, you should be able to successfully extract DNA from any living source. You can experiment with other sources of DNA, such as with fresh vegetables, tomatoes and other plant sources. Does the appearance of the DNA differ depending on which source you choose to use?
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