Extract DNA at Home!

By February 28, 2020Uncategorized
Two male campers sit smiling at a picnic table with their materials needed for banana DNA extraction.

Do you know what DNA stands for? Do you know what a genome is? Many of the campers that came to Camp Kintail this summer were well educated in the field of genetics, and got to expand their knowledge using a hands on activity; extracting DNA from fruits! 

If you want to try this fun and educational activity at home, all you’ll need is; 

  • Cold rubbing alcohol 
  • Measuring cups and spoons 
  • Salt 
  • Water 
  • Dishwashing liquid 
  • Cheesecloth 
  • A ziplock bag 
  • A small glass jar 
  • A fruit of your choosing! (Strawberries and bananas work best) 
  1. Put your chosen fruit into the plastic bag and squish it around. The more squished up it is, the better! 
  2. Mix together 1⁄2 tsp of salt, 1⁄3 cup of water and 1 tbsp of dishwashing liquid, and add this to your plastic bag. 
  3. Squish up the fruit with your mixture for a couple minutes. 
  4. Strain your mixture into the small glass jar using your cheese cloth so that the jar is 1⁄3 of the way full of the fruit/salt/soap potion. 
  5. Pour the cold rubbing alcohol slowly into the jar so it forms a layer on top of your liquid. 
  6. Watch the magic happen! The DNA from your fruit will clump together in the alcohol layer. It will look kind of white and stringy. If you are feeling extra adventurous you can try to pick up some of the DNA on a toothpick or fork! 

A camper is pouring a banana substance into a cup that two other campers are holding.

Congrats, you are now a certified fruit DNA extractionist! Have fun and don’t stop exploring!

– Erin “Genome” Howard