What's new

Extract DNA from a banana!

By Carol Saab, 8 August 2013 Activity

DNA is the blueprint and genetic guide for every living thing, and units of DNA are tiny. So how can we see it with our own eyes? Many DNA units form a long, stringy molecule that is easily visible and easy to extract from particular living things, like peas or a banana.

sharp hazard iconchemical hazard icon
Safety: This activity uses a sharp knife and a blender. Handle ethanol according to the label. If you try this activity yourself, ask an adult to supervise.

Our latest video shows you how to extract DNA from a banana. Check it out:

Video transcript available here.

A plant cell.  To release the DNA we need to get through three barriers: the cell wall, the cell membrane, and the nuclear membrane.

A plant cell. To release the DNA we need to get through three barriers: the cell wall, the cell membrane, and the nuclear membrane.

Teacher’s notes with curriculum links available here.

3 comments

  1. Reblogged this on News @ CSIRO and commented:
    DNA smoothie anyone? Check out the latest video from Helix@CSIRO, explaining how to extract DNA from a banana.

      Reply
  2. Reblogged this on colinjgrace and commented:
    Just did this today with year 10s — we used kiwi fruit (bananas are probably cheaper but it should work with anything if you add some meat tenderizer too). Worked well, students extracted lots of DNA with toothpicks from their samples. We did the mashing by hand and kept it cool using ice baths to help precipitate out the DNA at the end.

      Reply
  3. This experiment is especially neat. I can do this easily with my class. Bonus– very low expense. Brilliant use of the stockings to sling around the banana “smoothie “. This is an experiment I can take on the road. Bravo!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

By posting a comment you are agreeing to the Double Helix commenting guidelines.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.