Extract Your Own DNA!


What is the white stringy stuff in the photo?  That is strawberry DNA!  You can see DNA as well with just a few household ingredients and materials.  Strawberry season is almost here and sometimes… well not every strawberry is great.  You can mash just 3 of these up over spring break or the summer for a little in home science experiment!


-1 tall glass
-measuring cup
-3 strawberries
-1 small jar like baby food size
-1 Tb. dish soap
-1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
-cheesecloth – about 12″
-funnel (even one for canning will work)
-1/2 tsp. salt

  1.  Put the rubbing alcohol bottle in the freezer to get it cold for later.

  2.  Into a measuring cup, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup water and 1 Tb. of dish soap.  Stir until mixed well!  This is the extraction liquid.
  3. Now, take your funnel and put the cheesecloth on top.  Put the funnel and cheesecloth on top of your tall glass.

  4. Wash and remove the tops off of the strawberries.  Add them to a plastic sandwich bag that can be resealed.  Mash them for about 2 minutes.

    Make sure to squeeze the air out of the bag and if the bag gets a small hole, just put the bag inside of another bag.

  5. Take 3 Tb. of the extraction liquid and add it to the mashed strawberries.  Mix that around another minute or so.

    Extract strawberry DNA

  6. Carefully, pour the strawberry mix through the prepped cheesecloth funnel and into the glass.

  7. Next, pour that strawberry liquid into your small baby food jar until it is only one-quarter the way full.  You can make another experiment with the remaining strawberry liquid in the tall glass, or just throw it away.

  8. Remove the rubbing alcohol from the freezer.  Pour about 1/3 cup of it into a clean measuring cup.  GENTLY tip your baby food jar slightly and gently and slowly pour the alcohol into the baby food jar.  Stop when you have 1 inch of alcohol in the jar.  Try to not mix the alcohol and strawberry mixture.

  9. Observe and admire!

I found this experiment at a Food Festival actually.  There were STEM booths and one had this on it.  But we never saw how they did it and I found the experiment online here at Scientific American.


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