Science Lab / Strawberries and DNA

Wednesday, 5 August, 2015

DNA is cool stuff: it gives your cells the instructions to make you, well…you. Yet with only a two per cent difference in its composition you would be a chimpanzee. It’s amazing to think that your entire being is pretty much governed by tiny strands of the junk. But alas, we never really get to see it or appreciate how much DNA we actually have even though each of our cells has roughly three metres worth of it in them. That’s right: three metres.

Thankfully, with the power of science (and delicious strawberries) you can do a cool little experiment on your kitchen bench that will let you see DNA with your bare eyes – and touch it too!


Step 1. Make up your extraction solution – this helps break down cell membranes so the DNA can float freely. All you need to do is add the dish soap/shampoo and salt to the 90ml of water. Stir until everything is dissolved.

Step 2. Take your uneaten strawberry and place it in the zip lock bag. Try to push out most of the air and close the bag tight.

Step 3. Proceed to squish the ever-living crap out of the strawberry until it becomes a fine pulp.

Step 4. Add all of the extraction solution to the zip lock bag and give it another nice mash around.

Step 5. Pour the contents of the bag into a cup through your filter material.

Step 6. Add 30ml of your cold methylated spirits to the mixture. Once you add the methylated spirits, you should notice some cloudy gooey-looking stuff form. This is the DNA from the strawberry! You won’t be able to see any distinct strands since the DNA itself is very thin, but it’s still pretty darn swanky.