Celebrate National DNA Day by Smashing Strawberries

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Learning Objective: To be able to describe how to extract DNA. 

DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is the genetic material that serves as a blueprint for the creation of proteins, the workers in our cells. DNA  consists of our hereditary information that is passed on from one generation to the next. We receive half of our DNA from mom and half from dad.

The sequence of bases of this very important macromolecule can play a large role in determining many things including our physical appearance and our risk for disease.

In 2015 we know more than we have ever known about DNA. We have the map of all genes for our species as well as that of many others. We know that there are even factors beyond our DNA that can determine whether or not our genes are turned on or off. Our fascination with this macromolecule has led us to create kits to determine our ancestry by sequencing our DNA from a cheek swab.

So, what is DNA really like? A classic, simple experiment that you can do at home allows you to easily remove and observe DNA from a common fruit, the strawberry.

The extraction procedure is simple, you break open the cells and nuclei (where DNA is housed) of the strawberry and remove the DNA by making it to come out of solution. All you need to do is follow the steps shown in the video below and you will see DNA in no time.

Happy National DNA Day!

Additional Resource

How to Extract DNA from a Strawberry (Genome.gov)

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