An experiment or a cocktail?

23 April, 2014 Blog

In Athens Science Festival, we do experiment. We bring hands on science to you, and we enjoy it. DNA is one of the most interesting scientific topics, and as such, in Athens Science Festival you are going to see live the process of DNA extraction from strawberries. The isolation of DNA is an essential step that enables us to study its structure, so as to understand it.

The process of a scientific experiment sometimes looks like making a cocktail, and it can be delightful in its own way.

Take a look at the steps:

1. homogenization. We cut the strawberry in small pieces, place them in a heat resistant glass, and we mash them, like when we want to make a fruit juice.

2. extraction. To prepare the extraction solution, we mix 100ml water, 2 teaspoons of dishwashing detergent and 1 teaspoon of salt. We add the solution to the homogenized strawberry.

3. incubation at 60⁰C. We add hot boiling water to a heat resistant bowl (2/3 of the volume), we add 1/3 of the volume cold water, and we place the glass with the strawberry mix inside the water. We wait for 15 minutes, for the most interesting phase of the experiment (it is not drinking the cocktail!).

4. filtration. We pour the mix in a strainer and we keep the filtrate in a glass.

5. see the DNA! Υοu can see the DNA with your own eyes when you pour ice cold ethanol in the inner walls of the glass. The DNA emerges from the strawberry mix to the translucent ethanol phase, and you can even pick it up with a toothpick!

It turns out that this strawberry experiment is just the first step towards understanding DNA. The experimental process itself is how science gives us the joy of knowledge.