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Gene Smoothies - DNA extraction in the Kitchen

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by

Ian Portman

on 13 May 2013

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Transcript of Gene Smoothies - DNA extraction in the Kitchen

DNA
Found in every living cell
Contains all the instructions needed to make a cell Discovered by Friedrich Miescher
in 1869 He extracted it from pus covered bandages mixed with pigs stomach lining But it wasn't until 1940 that
Avery, MacLeod &McCarty
showed that DNA
was responsible for inheritance To extract DNA for ourselves
we're using something green
( but not pus ) Peas Peas Why Peas? They're cheap They contain more DNA Pea DNA is longer Peas look better Peas like adventure It's a health and safety thing There's one right answer here First soak the peas It helps if we freeze them
then thaw them Ice crystals help break up the cells Just like this jelly The peas go into a blender
to break them up even more And we need a bit of
cold water I'm using dry ice to chill the water Why? because it's more fun! Dry ice
Solid Carbon dioxide
-78 Celsius
Turns straight from solid to gas Before we press the button
we need one more ingredient Miescher used pig stomach
for a good reason It contains proteases Luckily if we need to digest protein
we can use something more pleasant Flesh eating plants! Pineapple juice contains Bromelain
A powerful protease Watch what it does to this jelly DNA in a cell is fixed to
proteins called histones Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins.
We need them to break down the histone. A quick zap with the blender
sets everything in motion One tropical fruit and
legume smoothie When I did this at university
we used fish guts so be happy There's a couple more things to add Salt Salt and detergent The detergent helps dissolve all the fats and
half digested proteins in the mix Salt encourages the
DNA strands to
stick together Now we need to get the DNA out of Solution Whilst that's brewing,
have you ever heard the
claim that humans share
50% of our DNA with
a banana? It's true Most cells, regardless of whether
they're in a person or a banana
have the same basic jobs to do. Respiration Protein synthesis DNA repair Cell division Sugar production Just add alcohol This is Methylated spirits
it forces the DNA out
of solution You need a steady hand to do this -
Pour the alcohol very slowly so it floats on top of our cocktail DNA collects at the interface
between soup and alcohol So how do we get from that to the famous 'Double helix'? The DNA has to be collected and redissolved We can draw a fibre from the solution
like a spider spinning a line of silk Rosalind Franklin shone X-rays through these fibres and collected diffraction patterns These patterns contain information
about the arrangement of the atoms
in the molecule in 1953 Watson & Crick published
a structure based on Franklins
diffraction data and won a Nobel prize It's a macro molecule From the Greek "makros" meaning large and the French "molecule" meaning molecule How large?
A single strand of human DNA would be about 3 meters long
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