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Wednesday, June 12 • 3:15pm - 4:30pm
Extracting DNA from a piece of Banana

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DNA is the critical blueprint of life; however, it actually looks like something that you blow out of your nose.   The purpose of this hands on experiment is to show educators/students how to easily and cheaply extract DNA from a small piece of banana.  Not only can you take this opportunity to teach students the basics of DNA (we share about 50% of our DNA with a banana), genes and heredity but the students can also actually visualize this important molecule.

I have used this extraction of DNA method with my undergraduate Biology classes. The UG students visit a local middle school and share a presentation about DNA and then walk students through the DNA extraction process. The extraction process takes about 10 minutes, but we normally go through it first before having the students do the extraction (stressing pounding the banana is not required). I also use this extraction in my upper level genetics courses. The extraction is easy and can be done during a lecture setting. Everything that is used for the extraction (water, salt, dawn dish soap, and diluted isopropyl alcohol is safe and a common household chemical). When we go into classrooms we have everything we need in a bag and we treat it like camping...everything that goes in comes out. Anything that is plastic, is reused. We initially used strawberries, but that can be cost-prohibitive. We have found bananas work better and require only a very small piece, so you can get by with one banana for about 20 students.

avatar for Lynn Ulatowski

Lynn Ulatowski

Assistant professor of biology, Ursuline College

Wednesday June 12, 2019 3:15pm - 4:30pm EDT
Wolstein 4th Floor Room A