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Strawberry DNA Extraction

Published March 24, 2020.

You’ve probably heard about DNA on one of those detective shows on TV, but have you ever seen it? DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. Yep. That’s one big word! DNA is special because it holds the code for every cell in your body. Every cell uses DNA as an instruction manual. Our DNA determines such things as what eye colour or hair colour you have. Did you know that even your food has DNA? We are going to take the DNA out of strawberries!

With a strawberry DNA experiment, you’ll extract, isolate, and observe the DNA of a strawberry in a matter of minutes. It sounds impossible, but thanks to special characteristics of strawberries, it’s actually very possible… and simple. You don’t have to be a geneticist. You don’t need a microscope. It’s easy, fun, and all you need are some household materials.

SAFETY FIRST!

None of the materials we are using today will do major harm. However safety is always a first priority when it comes to science. Also remember to wash your hands before starting and whenever possible use ingredients in the house to avoid going out.  And last but not least, HAVE FUN!

  • Wear goggles or glasses to protect your eyes
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands
  • Pull back any long hair
  • Do not eat any of the mixtures you are making
  • If something spills, please tell someone right away.
Materials Needed:
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 Tsp Dish Soap
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Strawberry
  • 1 tsp of cold isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 Small Ziplock Bag
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 Clear drinking glass
  • 1 Clear measuring Cup
What to Do:

1. Mix 1/3 cup of water, 1 tsp of dish soap, and ¼ tsp. of salt in a small ziplock bag. This is your extraction solution.

2. Place one strawberry in a plastic zipper-lock bag.

3. Pour your extraction solution into the bag with the strawberry.

4. Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal it.

5. Use your hands to mash, smash, and mush the strawberry in the bag.

6. Pour the solution mixture through a filter and into a small plastic cup.

7. Squish the mixture with a spoon to get all the liquid out.

8. Transfer the solution into a smaller bowl and add 1 tsp of cold isopropyl alcohol to the solution and hold the mixture at eye level.

9. Can you see how there is a separation of white “stuff” at the top the rest of the solution?

10. Gently remove the white “stuff” at the top using a stir stick.

Let’s Think! Tell us what you’ve discovered by tagging us on social media or emailing us at camp.in@campquality.org
  1. What is the white “stuff” at the top of the liquid?
  2. What does the salt and dish soap do to the strawberry at the beginning of the experiment?
  3. Why do we add isopropyl alcohol to the solution?