We had an exciting day at Reavis this week–guest scientist Anna Chen taught our Sisters how to extract and see our own DNA! First, we learned about the organization of life, from the small scale to a larger scale. The girls talked about atoms, and how they make up molecules, which make up cells, which make up tissues, which make up organs, which make up systems, which make up an organism like a human, which make up a population, which make up a community, which make up an ecosystem…and on and on!
The girls shared their misconceptions about DNA (“It’s in EVERY cell? Really? Even in our lungs?”) and we talked about how important DNA is as the blueprint of our bodies.
Then, we got to conduct a very cool experiment: how to extract your DNA using basic materials! Each girl scraped some DNA off her tongue (“We have DNA in our mouths too?? Can we taste it?”), and spit into a test tube. We learned that DNA was in every cell’s nucleus, so we needed some way to get it alone. We added a few drops of dish soap into the tube to break down the membrane that surrounds each cell. Then, we added pineapple juice (delicious and educational!) to our tubes to destroy the proteins in our cells that might get in the way. Finally, we added salt to solidify the DNA, and isopropyl alcohol to dissolve everything except the DNA. When we mixed it all together, we could see our own DNA floating around inside the test tube!
The Sisters were very excited to take a sample of their DNA home–Alita even made an extra DNA test tube–and now we all know how to extract our DNA using simple materials. We’re excited to learn more from Anna next week!