For those of you wishing to take advantage of holiday bargains to further your research, there are a number of companies are offering products at reduced prices for Thanksgiving/”Black Friday” holiday.
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By Thao Do, Ph.D., Manager of 23andMe’s Education and Academia Program
Access November 19, 2018, 23andMeBlog
One of the most popular experiments in genetics is how to extract DNA from strawberries. This is a quick and simple experiment that you can do at home or in the classroom and is excellent for kids and adults of all ages.
At 23andMe, we love to demo this experiment at family events and conferences to bring the tiny, invisible world of DNA to life. When people can see, touch, and interact with the white clumps of strawberry DNA, they often have an Aha! Moment. For most people, this simple way to extract DNA from strawberries is the entry point into genetics education.
All the materials that you need are everyday-materials that you might find in your home. Below you’ll see a recipe and discussion guide so you can try this experiment as well.
You can also check out this clip from 23andMe DNA LIVE event, where Thao Do, 23andMe’s Education and Academia Program Manager, shows studio sports host Mike Yam and 4th grader, Arden Lee, how to extract DNA from strawberries.
Strawberry DNA Extraction Recipe
1 resealable plastic bag
½ cup of water
1 tsp table salt
2 tsp dishwashing liquid
Tip: Use clear or light color liquid so you can see the color contrast between the red strawberry solution and clear rubbing alcohol. Other color dishwashing liquid or detergent are ok too.
½ cup rubbing alcohol (95-99% isopropyl or ethanol)
1 coffee filter or paper towel
1 clear cup or test tube
Tip: You can buy test tube at a very low cost on Amazon
1 coffee stirrer or toothpick
Safety Caution: Be careful when handling the rubbing alcohol and make sure it doesn’t get into your eyes or mouth.
Pull off green leaves on the strawberries
Put 3 strawberries into the resealable plastic bag, push the air out of the bag, seal it, and gently smash the strawberries for a few minutes.
In a cup, mix ½ cup of water, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp dishwashing liquid.
Add 2 tsp of this liquid into the bag with the strawberry.
Tip: You don’t have to accurately measure these liquids. Approximations will work just fine here.
Reseal the bag and gently mix the smashed strawberry with the salt and dishwashing liquid solution for a few more minutes
Put a coffee filter or paper towel over an empty cup or test tube
Pour the strawberry solution over a coffee filter or a paper towel to filter out any big strawberry pieces. Let the strawberry mixture filter into an empty clear cup or test tube.
Tilt the empty clear cup or test tube and gently pour the rubbing alcohol so the alcohol forms a layer on top of the strawberry liquid.
Tip: Some recipes call for chilling the rubbing alcohol in the fridge or freezer before the experiment. In our experiences, this doesn’t make a noticeable difference. You can just use room-temperature rubbing alcohol.
Wait for a few minutes. You should see white clumps and strings forming at the middle layer between the strawberry solution and rubbing alcohol – this is the strawberries’ DNA. (Kids often think this looks like “snot”!)
Use the coffee stirrer or toothpick to swirl the DNA around and pull it up.
The cell’s genetic and hereditary information are stored in DNA.
A single strand of DNA is very tiny (nanometer-scale, much smaller than a strand of hair) so we cannot see it with our eyes. We need a very powerful microscope to see individual strands of DNA.
In this experiment, we use different chemicals to extract the strawberry DNA and make them clump together so we can easily see the strawberry DNA with just our naked eyes.
The dishwashing liquid helps pop open (lyse) the strawberry cells, releasing the DNA into solution. (This is why we use dishwashing liquid to clean our dishes – the detergent chemical can break down food remains, grease, and pop open any bacterial cells to keep your dishes sparkling clean.)
Salt is added to separate DNA from non-DNA parts, like cell walls, proteins, and other substances.
Rubbing alcohol causes the DNA to come out of solution and clump together (precipitate), which makes it easier to see with the naked eyes.
Strawberries are the perfect choice for a DNA extraction experiment because they are octoploid which means they have up to eight sets of chromosomes. In contrast, human cells are generally diploid, which means they only have two sets of chromosomes.
You can use other fruits like kiwis, bananas, apple sauces to do a similar experiment as well. In our experiences, strawberries are the best choices because they provide a strong color contrast, red liquid against the clear alcohol, and they have many copies of chromosomes so they’re easier to extract and visualize.
Source: Exploring Life Mysteries access November 16, 2018
Note: To sustain this free service to you the reader, Exploring Life Mysteries the author offers the following notification, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.
African American Genealogy DNA does not receive commissions via any link and does not favor any DNA testing company over another. We offer the information to help you make an informed decision.
Can a little spit really tell you that you’ve got some Albert Einstein in your DNA or that your ancestors migrated from the Middle East 2,000 years ago?
Surely, you’ve heard about the craze over at-home DNA tests. Interested in digging deeper into your family heritage? Want to know what test to take? DNA testing is easier and more affordable than you might think and can lead to amazing revelations about who you are.
What Can I Learn From A DNA Test?
We often get asked which test is best for revealing what type of information. Every DNA testing company has its own unique strengths and thus the results are better for certain types of data.
DNA Ancestry Test
When you hear about your friend doing a DNA test at home, there is a good chance that they are talking about an ancestry test. DNA testing for ancestry is growing in popularity as more and more people want to know about their family history. A DNA ethnicity test can help you discover your ethnic origins from around the world. DNA testing for genealogy can help you identify your ancestors and living relatives (from a parent to distant cousins). An ancestral DNA test may also inspire you to dig in deeper to your family tree with genealogical research.
DNA Paternity Test
Historically one of the more common types of DNA tests, a paternity test determines the biological link between a father and child. There’s even a non-invasive prenatal paternity test available now. Read our Paternity Test Comparison for the scoop.
DNA Health Testing
At-home DNA testing for most medical and health-related purposes is still in its infancy, but scientists are making advances every day. Always consult your physician before doing one of these types of tests and ask lots of questions.
Genetic Testing For Cancer Risk
Some people have a higher risk of developing specific types of cancers that tend to run in the family. In these cases, a physician may test your DNA to look for gene mutations that could indicate a higher risk. One of the better-known examples is testing for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (breast cancer genes) in women whose mother and sister have had breast cancer.
Genetic Testing For Carrier Status
Want to start a family, but you’re worried you may pass on an unwanted risk to your child? Some DNA tests can tell you if you’re a carrier for certain inherited conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia or hereditary hearing loss. A positive match doesn’t mean your child will inherit the condition; it just lets you know whether you carry the gene.
Not all DNA tests are the same. A carrier status DNA test, for example, focuses on the specific markers known to be associated with certain inherited conditions. On the other hand, DNA genealogy tests focus on specific markers related to our ancestry.
The cost varies by the company and the type of kit you choose but most range from $39 to $300+ and some offer free shipping. (Prenatal paternity tests can be $1,000 or more). After the one-time fee to have your DNA analyzed, you have access to your DNA records forever without paying a monthly fee.
The prices of the tests vary greatly because of the different features each offers. For example, some test for more than one type of DNA, which means the test may be more accurate or detailed than others.
The cost of DNA tests is the same regardless of where you live. So that means that someone in the United States pays the same as someone in Nigeria for the same test.
Often our top-ranked ancestry DNA companies (see below) will offer special discounts and promotions, and we do our best to keep this page updated when those sales happen. You can find these coupons in the review sections below for each specific company.
Advanced Genealogical Research & Identifying Relatives
Disease Risk Screening & General Ancestry
Ancient African Ancestry
Early Migratory Patterns
Adding DNA to Your Online Family Tree
Ethnic Geographical Regions
How Does At-Home DNA Testing Work?
Step 1: Order Your Kit
Order your kit online from anywhere in the world (see below for our top picks). It takes about a week to receive the kit. The package should arrive sealed so you are certain it has not been tampered with.
Step 2: Set Up Your Online Profile
You’ll need to activate your kit online using a unique code provided to you. This connects your name and contact details to your sample so you can track progress as it’s tested and later view results. You’ll most likely sign a consent form and agree to the company’s legal terms and conditions before getting started.
Step 3: Provide A DNA Sample
Now for the fun part — providing your DNA sample! Most tests offer cheek swab tests. AncestryDNA, 23andMe and NatGeo Geno 2.0 tests require you to spit in a vial.
Either way, they recommend not eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum or teeth brushing at least one hour before to ensure a good sample. Also wash your hands before opening the test tubes to ensure a clean sample.
Step 4: Seal & Ship Your Sample
Once your samples are complete and ready to go, seal the samples in the specimen bag, place them in the provided mailing envelope, and drop the it in your mailbox for delivery. Don’t forget to make sure your unique ID is on each sample so the labs have a way to track it back to your profile.
Step 5: Wait For Analysis
In an age where we can get most things instantly, you might be anxious to get results right away. But, how long does a DNA test take to come back? Given the complexity of the process of analyzing your DNA and comparing your results to other samples, expect to wait anywhere from 4-10 weeks depending on the company.
Step 6: View & Share Your Results
To access your results, sign in to the online portal using the login you created when you activated your kit (results will not be mailed to you for privacy reasons). Once logged in, you can view and analyze your DNA in more detail using the provided percentages, maps and more depending on which kit you chose.
2018 Best DNA Test Winners
We chose our best DNA test for 2018 based on a number of factors, including the types of tests they offer, DNA database size, the extent of ancestry information you can find from each test, cost, genealogy research tools and more. If you need to brush up on DNA and ancestry-related terms, jump to our DNA terminology section.
Designed for the iPad and iPhone, the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms features more than 250 common genetic terms pronounced and explained in an easy-to-understand way by leading scientists and professionals at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
Each term has a short written definition. Each term features the voice of an expert spontaneously explaining the term in their own words, typically in less than a minute – with no reading allowed. Together these two explanations help non-scientists better understand common genetic terms found in grade school textbooks, news stories and movies, and through interactions with medical professionals.
All terms are pronounced even if they are as simple as “gene.” Nearly all have expertly crafted color illustrations. Many have exciting 3D animations including common terms such as gene, chromosome, nucleus, mitochondria, golgi body, cell, ACGT and more.
The “Test Your Gene IQ” quiz automatically serves up a definition and asks you to choose the correct term name from a list. This ten-question quiz is random and never the same, and is a fun way to challenge your friends or prepare for a classroom quiz.
-Created and voiced by experts in the field at the NIH (NHGRI).
-Enhanced high-quality “3D animations’ for many terms.
-More than 100 expert color illustrations by the same illustrator.
-Easily search, or browse alphabetically, for genetic terms.
-Terms chosen are from 7th – 12th grade biology texts, commonly heard in the media, or used by medical professionals.
-“Share a Term With a Friend”, or “Suggest a Term” functions.
-Take a random 10-question quiz for fun, or as a learning tool.
-All terms are pronounced, no matter how basic the term.
First, you will want to establish a relationship with you relative and get comfortable. If you do not have a relationship you must establish a relationship. Aunt Bell or Uncle John may not feel that comfortable and so it is important. You will always get clues.
I then start the tape recorder or video. I then state my name, the date, and the location. I may also record some additional facts, such as an occasion, and who else is in the house, in case they show up on the tape, etc.
I then start with very simple questions about themselves that are easy to answer. Names, locations, and dates are crucial to have in genealogy, so they are the first things I ask. But it is helpful to mix short answer questions with essay type questions.
What is your name? Who came up with the name? What does it mean?
Where and when were you born? Were you born in a hospital?
Where and when were you married?
What are your parents’ names? Where and when were they born?
Where do you live? Have you ever lived anywhere else?
What are your children’s’ birth dates and where were they born? What are their names?
From here, I generally branch out in one of three ways. I focus on the individual, broaden to the family, or ask about their place in history. I find it difficult to do more than one of these in a single interview. You may consider conducting more than one genealogy interview with the same person or group of people.
CAAGRI has and an excellent list of interview questions, follow the link below.
I have written about DNA and Genealogy several times underscoring the need to research, consultation and reviewing the databases, methods, and DNA testing processes out in the marketplace today. Nothing has changed much over the last year. People of color are just not in large numbers in any database around the world.
Please read the article posted on CAAGRI.Org website accessed November 16, 2018.