DNA Extraction Extravaganza
Hosted by: UT Austin Women in Biomedical Engineering
Visit our Booth: Sunday, February 28, 2021, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Recommended Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Background Information: Ever wondered why you look similar to your parents, siblings, cousins, or grandparents? Ever wondered what makes you unique? Ever wondered what makes something living? The answer to all of those questions is DNA! DNA is the material that carries all the information for how a living thing will look and function. For humans, DNA will determine your eye color, hair color, and other physical traits. Today, you'll be learning a bit more about yourself and the world around you by extracting DNA from fruits!
The Challenge: Successfully extract DNA from fruit of your choosing (strawberry, banana, kiwi, etc.).
- fruit of your choice
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 small plastic cups
- 2 teaspoons of dish soap
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 coffee filter
- 1/3 cup of rubbing alcohol
- 1 plastic bag
- 1 plastic spoon
- Add 2 teaspoons of dish soap in 1 plastic cup. Slowly mix in 1 teaspoon of salt. Then, mix in 1/2 cup of water.
- Add 1/4 cup of your fruit into 1 plastic bag. Mash up the fruit with your hands until there are no big chunks. Add 2 tablespoons of the mixture from step 1 into the plastic bag. Gently swirl with a plastic spoon for 1 minute and then let it rest.
- Cover an unused plastic cup with the coffee filter. Slowly pour the plastic bag mixture over the cup and let it filter for 30 seconds or until the fluid has stopped dripping.
- Pour 1/3 cup of cold rubbing alcohol down the side of the cup. Do not mix or stir.
- Within a few seconds, watch for the development of a white cloudy substance (fruit DNA) in the top layer above the fruit layer.
- Tilt the cup and pick up the fruit DNA with the plastic spoon.
- Congratulations! You've successfully extracted DNA from a fruit!
How does this activity connect to STEM and today's Girl Day theme of Improving Lives: Mind, Body, Medicine? Engineers and scientists have to extract DNA from human cells for a wide variety of purposes:
- study genetic causes of disease
- develop diagnostics and medicine
- genetically modify plants and animals
- genetic fingerprinting
Engineers work in teams to improve lives by enhancing our health through the food we eat, creating medicine to treat disease, and studying how genetics influence our minds.
Our purpose is to foster community among women in BME through service, social, academic, and professional opportunities. We incorporate the WEP PAL program within the organization to mentor and share our experiences with incoming freshmen as well as gain advice from the graduate students already involved with the program. We hold a variety of events each semester including faculty lunches, post-grad panels, and Chocolate Chats.