by | Aug 19, 2019 | 0 comments

You, too, can extract DNA using household ingredients!

You often hear about scientists using DNA to answer important questions, but have you ever wondered how they get it? DNA extraction is at the heart of Ocean Genome Legacy’s (OGL) mission, and it can be done with household ingredients! This past April, OGL staff taught high school girls the nuts and bolts of this protocol with our Snow Pea DNA Extraction Workshop.

Students make observations about the phenotype, or appearance, of their snow pea (left), grind their pea in an extraction buffer (center), and vortex their samples (right). Photo credit: Emily Duwan. 
 
As part of the Evolution in Changing Seas Career Workshop for Girls co-hosted by the outreach team and Lotterhos Lab at the Marine Science Center, OGL staff led students through the entire process. Students began by documenting the phenotype, or appearance, of their snow peas. They then ground up a single pea in a solution of soap and salt, cleaned the DNA in 70% ethanol and suspended it in water for analysis.
 
 
 
OGL staff explain how researchers determine DNA quality and purity (left) and help students measure these variables using a spectrophotometer (right). Photo credit: Emily Duwan.

Prizes were awarded to the students who extracted the most and cleanest DNA. This is the second year that OGL has been a part of this workshop, which seeks to encourage high school girls to consider careers in evolutionary biology.            

Interested in extracting DNA yourself? This workshop can be found here. If you’re interested in contributing to OGL’s mission of outreach, consider making a donation.

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