DNA is a fascinating subject that our kids have been getting interested in a lot lately. To help understand and learn more about DNA, we completed this Strawberry DNA Science Experiment.
Strawberry DNA Science Experiment
DNA is the genetic makeup of a person or organism and is present in every cell of plants and animals. This molecule has the massive job of holding all the information a body needs to function. Looking like a long thin molecule, usually DNA can’t be seen with the naked eye, though with the help of a microscope, you are able to see the classic twist or double helix shape.
With this experiment, DNA strands are released from their cells, binding together ignorer to be seen by the naked eye. This experiment can be completed with most fruit, vegetables or even soft meat, though because strawberries are octoploid (a cell that has eight complete sets of chromosomes instead of 4), who also yield more DNA than other fruits, they are one of the best, and easiest, fruits to use.
To make some DNA, you will need:
- 3-4 strawberries
- 100ml water
- 100 ml rubbing alcohol
- 1 TBSP washing-up liquid
- ½ tsp salt
- large bowl
- two jars
- fine sieve or strainer
- paper clip
To make the DNA, you need to:
- Place the rubbing alcohol in the freezer for 30 minutes before you start.
- Then mash up some strawberries in a jar until they turn to pulp.
- In a second jar, mix the water with a few drops of washing-up liquid and a pinch of salt. Stir them together very slowly as not to form bubbles. If you happen to get some bubbles, scoop them out and dispose of them.
- Combine this mixture with the mashed up strawberries and mix together very slowly again for about two minutes. If froth forms, scoop it out and dispose of it.
- Pour some hot water into a bowl and if needed, add some cold water until the temperature is stable at around 60˚C / 140˚F.
- Stand the jar of mashed fruit in the bowl and leave for about 15 minutes.
- Push the strawberry mixture through the sieve into a fresh glass which should leave you with just the liquid.
- Take the rubbing alcohol out of the freezer and dribble it very slowly down the side of the glass. It should settle on top of your mixture. You should see a white, web-like layer forming between the liquid and the alcohol.
These blobs of jelly-like DNA can be picked up on a hook made from the paper clip.
All the parts of this experiment are vital in helping complete this process. The soap helps dissolve cell membranes while the salt helps break up the protein chains which release the DNA strands and lastly, DNA is not soluble in the isopropyl alcohol, even more so when it is very cold.
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Why not try this Strawberry DNA Experiment today!
This massive Human Body Unit is a great way to learn about DNA and the human body.