29 November 2007

Extracting DNA

Today I extracted DNA from a strawberry. I know, I sound all scientific now, but I'm not. It's actually really easy: put a strawberry in a plastic baggy (take off the green leaves first) and then smash it up really good with your hands. Stare at it for five minutes. This, of course, gives the strawberry some time to get to know you. Strawberries are naturally shy, and they don't expose their DNA for just anyone. Talk to it; gain its trust.
Add 10mL of detergent (you know, to agitate the cell boundaries so they let the DNA come out) and then squish it together some more. Then, stick it in a plastic tube and spin it in a centrifuge so the liquid separates from the solids. Get a Pasteur pipette and suck up two pipettes full of the liquid and put it in a test tube. Add 3 to 3.5 pipettes full of cold ethanol. Gently swish it around. The DNA separates out between the strawberry mush and the ethanol. It looks like a cloud. Take a glass stirring rod/hook and gently fish it out and wipe it on something glass so you can look at it. It doesn't look like DNA; it looks like clear snot and it clumps together. Humans are diploid; they have two copies of DNA, but strawberries: octoploid! Eight copies! (Makes me wonder what they need eight for...)


Menard said...

They need eight to make them taste so good!

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