Have you ever been told that you look like your mother or your father? Or perhaps they say that you share some common traits or features with your uncles, aunts or grandparents? Ever wondered why they say so? A few weeks ago we attempted to explain how our five senses work together to help us identify each individual as different from each other. Even then, what is it that still makes us look similar to our parents?
The answer lies in ‘genes’ (pronounced the same as jeans) that are present in our deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. You may say that these genes are like painters. They decide whether to add curly or straight hair, give us long or short legs, or even specific details like the colour of our hair and eye!
Now to think of it, the way you look, see things, behave, and emotionally react, and those thousands of characteristics that differentiate you from other humans is probably due to a slight variation in portions of your DNA! Pretty incredible, right?
What if we tell you that you can extract your own DNA at home and that too using only some simple household items?
Interested? Let’s dig in.
First, gather these items:
If this experiment was exciting for you, let’s go a step further and try out the same experiment using strawberries. Why strawberries? That is because they have eight copies of each chromosome (they are octoploid). That’s a LOT of DNA to isolate!
So what happened in both the experiments? The dish soap dissolved the cell membranes to get to that genetic material. The salt broke down the nucleic acids into something a bit more manageable. And your DNA, which is not soluble in the alcohol, got exposed.
There you go. You now know the secret (and perhaps the easiest!) way to extract DNA.
Do these experiments intrigue you to learn more about DNA? You can watch this video on DNA and learn all about it.
Liked this story? Try our more such fun DIY experiments at your home.
Books are Tanaya Goswami’s first love and cheesecakes come a close second. Talking about movies, music, calligraphy, politics, and Elon Musk will get you listed under the friends’ section of her diary. Ever since moving on from her job as an English lecturer, she spends her time at BYJU’S crafting stories filled with emotion and sprinkled with sarcasm. Outside of work, she’s either learning something new (French, most recently!) or is curled up with a book and a cup of coffee. She firmly believes that discovering what you don’t know is the key to knowledge and is constantly working towards improving herself. Drop in a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you liked her stories, have something nice to say, or if you have compelling ideas to share!
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