Did anyone extract DNA during biology class at school?  I remember doing it at A-Levels when we were looking at DNA.  Extracting DNA from fruit is actually a really easy experiment to do at home and fun for kids.

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To extract DNA from fruit you will need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 1 tsp Dish soap
  • ½ tsp Table salt
  • 100mls water
  • A clear glass or beaker
  • Sieve
  • Ziplock bag
  • Paper clip

Before you start you need to put the rubbing alcohol into the freezer for about 30 minutes.

But your fruit into a zip lock bag or being more eco-friendly you could do it in a bowl with the back of a fork, and smoosh it up.

Once done with smooshing, mix the dish soap, salt, and water.  Try to do it carefully.  You do not want to end up with lots of soap suds.  Then stir in the smooshed up fruit.

Place the container into a bowl of warm water and let it sit for 15 mins.  You don’t want the warm water to get into the solution that you have just made.

how to extract DNA from fruit

After the 15 minutes pour the fruit mix through a sieve and into a clear glass of beaker.  You can discard the fruit pulp.

how to extract DNA from fruit

Carefully pour some of the rubbing alcohol into the fruit mix.  If you can, try to pour it so it goes down the side of the glass.  You want to create a layer of rubbing alcohol on top.

how to extract DNA from fruit

Very soon you will be able to see little white string appear in the rubbing alcohol; that is the DNA of the fruit!  You can use the paper clip to try and hook it out.  We were able to get some of the strawberry DNA out, but we couldn’t with the banana.

how to extract DNA from fruit

The science behind it

I can’t even begin to explain the science behind the experiment, and my charges wouldn’t actually understand it.  However, it was a wonderful way to talk about DNA and how every living creature is made up of DNA that controls what we look like.

We wanted to take the experiment further and experiment on different types of fruit and veg to see if we could extract their DNA.  However, we ran out of rubbing alcohol, so the extension will have to wait until I have restocked our supplies.

If you enjoyed learning how to extract DNA from fruit be sure to check out my elephant toothpaste experiment, red cabbage indicator experiment, and how to make your own compass.

Pin for later:

how to extract DNA from fruit - a fun kitchen science experiment for kids.