Have you ever isolated DNA? No? Then it is high time! It is very simple and can be easily done from at home or in your school class. We would like to find as many people as possible to take part in this activity all over Europe. Of course there is to win something: we raffle book vouchers, games and also a EUR 200,- voucher for the Therme Loipersdorf (Styria) where you will have lots of fun with your family or friends.
So let’s start and be part of the Life is Science world record attempt!
What is it about?
Currently, we all know the terms of “PCR” or “mRNA” and in this context also DNA (desoxyribonucleic acid) plays an important role. DNA provides the basic plan of our lives and it defines what we look like, how we develop and how we behave. DNA is also known as the genetic information, which we receive from our parents at birth. DNA molecules are really small, but we can make it visible at a certain amount. Of course the researchers in the lab are capable of doing that, but with some tricks you can also isolate DNA in your kitchen at home or in your school classes.
What do you need?
- 5 strawberries
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 25 ml lemon juice
- 5 ml dishwashing liquid
- 5 drops “Fleckenteufel” (intense washing agent)
- Some water
- denatured alcohol/methylated spirit
- 1 mortar and pestle (or a bowl with a fork)
- 1 coffee filter
What’s the theory behind?
Each living organism includes DNA that is well embedded in cells. For example in plants, these cells can be easily broken by mechanical treatment (which is done by the crushing of the strawberries). The dishwashing liquid supports this process, because it is able to remove the fatty components of the cell wall and destroys the scaffold. The lemon juice helps to solve these fatty components by providing an acidic pH environment.
The coffee filter separates the the remaining strawberry fragments from our DNA, which is solved in the aqueous part and can move through the filter. The salt is needed to simulate the usual conditions of the DNA environment in a cell and to keep the DNA stable also outside.
These cosy conditions for the DNA will be changed by the denatured alcohol: it is unpolar and therefore, shows the opposite solving characteristics from polar water. The consequence when adding it to the DNA solution: our DNA gets insoluble and starts clumping. After some time the white clump gets visible.
You can also try this experiment with other fruits and vegetables: for example Kiwis or tomatoes work very well!
How to take part in the world record attempt?
To be recognized as a “Life is Science” DIY researcher, please send us:
- a picture from your experiment/ your result
- a short description about your experiences (how did it work for you, did you have help, did you do it alone or in your school class etc.)
- send us your contact data (name, age, email adress)
until 24. September 2021, 12:00 pm to firstname.lastname@example.org
In case you are younger than 18 years old, we kindly ask for approval from your parents to use your picture and your data for our homepage. All data will be only used in the context of “Life is Science”.