DNA is a fascinating topic, and there are so many things you can learn about it. Did you know it was possible to extract and to see your DNA, using a few products you probably already have at home?
Follow the steps of this fun experiment to extract and see your own DNA.
1. Gather everything you will need
For this experiment, you will need a glass or a small paper cup, and a small glass container with a lid. A test tube would be ideal, but an empty and clean spice jar would do just fine.
You will also need saltwater or a colourless sports drink, liquid dish soap, pineapple juice or meat tenderizer, a wood skewer, and some rubbing alcohol. Keep a small quantity of alcohol in your freezer for at least a few hours before you are ready to start the experiment.
2. Swish with your saltwater or sports drink
If you don’t have a bottle of colourless sports drink, add a tablespoon of salt into a glass of drinking water, and mix it until the salt is dissolved.
Take a mouthful of saltwater or sports drink, and swish it around in your mouth for at least 2 minutes. When you are done, spit into a glass or a small paper cup, and then pour this liquid into your small glass container, so it is about one-third full.
3. Add some liquid dish soap to the container
The salt contained in your saltwater or sports drink will help collect cells from your saliva and from the inside of your mouth. These cells, of course, contain your DNA.
The next step is to add liquid dish soap until your glass container is about half full. Put the lid on and gently mix this solution, but try not to create soap bubbles.
4. Add some pineapple juice to the container
Liquid dish soap helps move the membranes of your cells away from the DNA they contain. To help with this process, you will have to add a few drops of pineapple juice to the solution. If you don’t have pineapple juice, use some meat tenderizer.
Both the pineapple juice and the meat tenderizer contain enzymes that will help break the cell membranes.
5. Add some cold alcohol to the container
Take your ice cold alcohol out of the freezer, and tilt the container of your solution in one of your hands. Gently pour a small amount of alcohol down the inside of your glass container. You don’t want to mix it with the rest of your solution: the alcohol should form a layer that floats on top of it.
The DNA contained in the solution should reach the floating layer of alcohol after a minute or two.
6. Use the wood skewer to collect your DNA
You should now be able to see some white strings and clumps floating underneath the layer of cold alcohol. This gooey stuff is your DNA!
To take a better look at it, touch it with the tip of your wood skewer, and gently twirl it to capture your strings and clumps of DNA and lift them out of the solution.
7. Learn more about your DNA
This experiment allows you to see your own DNA, but it tells you nothing about what is hidden inside these gooey white clumps that come from the inside of your cells.
If you would like to learn more about your DNA, request a DNA sample collection kit from CRI Genetics. They will analyze it for you, and send you a detailed report to explain you where your unique DNA comes from.