Museum Blog

Extract DNA at Home

Posted 11/10/2013 12:11 AM by Nicole Garneau | Comments

Your DNA genome is like a cookbook for your body. Just like a cookbook it has recipes in it. Your DNA genome recipes are called genes. Genes are like recipes, or instructions, for making something your body needs to survive and to be who you are!


Fatty Acid Study _9

Just like our staff and citizen scientists in the Genetics of Taste Lab extract and analyze the DNA from particpants in our study, you too can extract and then see real DNA from wheat germ right at home!



Here are the instructions to do this cool experiment

What you’ll need:

  • A measuring cup
  • A very small glass (or clear plastic) jar/cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • A spoon for stirring
  • A coffee filter (optional)
  • Wheat germ (raw, not toasted)
  • White hand soap
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Baking soda
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • A wooden skewer, chopstick, or popsicle stick


What to do:

  1. Fill your measuring cup with ¾ cup of water from the sink.
  2. Add one tablespoon of wheat germ to the cup.
  3. Add one teaspoon of soap to the cup.
  4. Stir for one minute!
  5. Add one teaspoon of meat tenderizer to the mixture.
  6. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the mixture.
  7. Stir some more for one minute!
  8. Let the mixture settle and scoop some of the chaff-free liquid into a small jar, OR:
    1. Carefully pour the mixture through a coffee filter into the small jar until the jar is about half full.
    2. Gently pour the isopropyl down the side of the jar (or over the back of a spoon) so it forms a clear layer on top of the wheat germ liquid. Make sure there is a roughly equal amount of isopropyl alcohol and wheat germ liquid.
    3. Using a wooden skewer, chopstick, or popsicle stick, gently swirl right where the two liquids meet. Don’t stir them together – just move the stick gently around the top of the wheat germ liquid.
    4. You’ll start to see white strands of material forming at the interface between the two liquids.
    5. These strands are DNA! Try to twirl the DNA around your skewer/chopstick/popsicle stick!

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