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How To Extract Your Own DNA

How To Extract Your Own DNA

Become a scientist or do your own CSI investigation with a easy to do lab procedure to extract your own DNA.

Whether you’d like impress your children with a little scientific knowledge, or simply want to unleash your inner nerd, NOVA/PBS has made this great little clip showing you how to extract your own DNA with nothing but household items.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 Clear Cups
  • Bottled Water
  • Clear Dish Soap
  • Food Coloring
  • Table Salt
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (70%)

How To Extract Your Own DNA

  • Mix 500ml water with 1 tablespoon of salt.
  • Stir until the salt is dissolved
  • Transfer 3 tablespoons of salt water to a new clear cup
  • Gargle the saltwater for 1 minute
  • Spit the water back in the cup (your cheek cells will no be suspended in the salt water)
  • Gently stir the saltwater with one drop of soap (the soap beaks down the cells to release the DNA)
  • In a new cup, mix 100ml of Isopropyl and 3 drops of food coloring
  • Tilt the saltwater cup, then slowly pour the alcohol so it forms a 2cm layer on top
  • Wait about 2 and half minutes (you’ll start to see white clumps and strings forming – this is your DNA!)

Check out the video to see exactly how this is done! Science in your living room, brilliant!


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  1. KRISTEN PHILIPKOSKI: How To Extract Your Own DNA Using Household Items. Gizmodo, 03/02/2012.

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