A collection of experiments that demonstrate biological concepts and processes. Display a printer-friendly version of this page. For more thorough analytical work, you need more control over the components why are enzymes important in living things your chemicals, and it may be worth investing in a kit from one of the major suppliers. This is a rough and ready method that should give reasonable quantities of DNA from quite large quantities of material. You can run this as a demonstration, or as small group work.
Or you could prepare enough of each of several materials to allow groups to take samples from which they extract the DNA. Wear eye protection and wash off skin promptly. Electrical equipment: Any electrical appliances used in the lab should be checked according to your employer’s systems. Use a blender dedicated for laboratory activities, not one that will be used later to process food for human consumption. Using ice-cold ethanol and ice-cold water increases the yield of DNA. Low temperatures protect the DNA by slowing down the activity of enzymes that could break it apart. DNases in the cytoplasm would destroy the DNA of viruses entering the cell. Cold ethanol helps the DNA to precipitate more quickly.
Chill the ethanol in a screwcap plastic bottle in the prep room freezer. C ethanol is below its flashpoint so this is safe even if your freezer is not spark proof. You can use a variety of substances for this extraction. It is important to check that your source material contains enough DNA. Kiwi fruit temptingly contain protease that could help to digest the proteins surrounding DNA and make the addition of further protease unnecessary. In this case, go back to the first step and add less water. The amount of DNA you will get will depend on the ratio of DNA to cell volume rather than the number of chromosomes in your material. It is important to allow time for each step to complete. The detergent must sit for at least 5 minutes to disrupt the cell membranes and nuclear membranes.
DNA are loosely attached to the bubbles. If you can leave the mixture for 30-60 minutes, you may see more DNA precipitate. Confirm that what you have is DNA by using a stain for DNA. It may well be a mixture of DNA and RNA.
Confirm that what you have is not pectin by adding pectinase. If it dissolves it was pectin! SAFETY: Wear eye protection when handling the enzyme solution. Avoid skin contact with ethanol and with enzyme solutions or powders. Wash any spills off your skin promptly. Chill your ethanol by placing in a freezer for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
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Blend on high for 15 seconds. Pour the mixture into test tubes or what is an example of an enzyme catalyzed reaction small glass containers, to make each about one third full. Add some protease enzymes to each test tube. You could use a pinch of meat tenderizer, a few drops of fresh pineapple juice, or some contact lens cleaning solution. Ethanol is less dense than water and will float on top. Dip the stick into the tube and touch the white layer.