At our session of Sisters4Science on November 18th, the girls learned about DNA extraction! Joyce Pieretti from the University of Chicago joined us and told us about the things in our body that make us who we are. Unsurprisingly, our super smart group of girls already knew a lot about DNA! One of the girls, Gabby Perry, told us that DNA stands for “deoxyribonucleic acid”, while Bailey Fields let us know that DNA is basically the building blocks of our bodies. Who knew we were just like legos!
For the experiment, the girls were each given a strawberry to extract its DNA. Using soap, water, and salt the girls were able to filter the strawberries through coffee filters to get a solution that they would extract the DNA out of. The girls got to work with ethanol and learned some pipetting techniques, which are great skills to have if they ever want to work in a real lab! Nyssa Doss mentioned that pipetting is similar to sucking soda up a straw. However, we don’t want to mouth pipette the chemicals we use in lab, ladies!
At the end of the experiment, the girls noted that the final DNA product was much thicker than the original strawberry juice they got from the filtering! They all had great ideas for why this happened, but Kiara Williams-Davis mentioned that it may have been because the ethanol changed the consistency of the material. Great guess, Kiara!
All in all, the girls had a great time and learned a lot about DNA. At the end of program we talked about other places that people could extract DNA from, and Joyce told them that DNA can be found almost anywhere in the body. How cool!