Extracting DNA from fruit

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This hands-on activity allows you to extract the DNA from fruit using household items.

A bit like a recipie book, all the biological instructions for making an organism are contained in a long molecule called DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). All living things, from humans and mice to plants and bacteria, have a unique set of instructions written in the four chemical letters of DNA: A, C, G, and T. Although it’s not visible to the naked eye, we know that DNA has a unique shape. It is a double helix that looks a bit like a twisted ladder.

DNA is found inside the cells of all living things. In animals, plants and fungi most of the DNA is found inside the nucleus – the information centre of the cell. As it is such a long molecule (the DNA in one human cell is 2 metres long!) it is packaged into bundles, known as chromosomes. This makes sure it all fits inside the nucleus.

This activity will enable learners to extract DNA from fruit using household ingredients. Although common, these ingredients and the way learners will use them is very similar to how scientists extract DNA in the lab.

Find out more about DNA here in our Introduction to Genomics page.