Tuesday, October 4, 2022
HomeHomeschoolSuperior Science Exercise - Extracting DNA from a Pumpkin

Superior Science Exercise – Extracting DNA from a Pumpkin

“Extracting DNA” sounds so superior and difficult; one thing of forensic laboratories or a analysis lab.

However Extracting DNA from a strawberry, beans, pumpkins, or any fruit or vegetable is a straightforward and engaging course of.

In case your youngster is aware of the time period DNA, whether or not they’re in higher elementary, center, or highschool, the method of extracting DNA from a part of a plant is an age-appropriate science exercise.

Extracting DNA is an easy science project for kids The truth is, seeing the DNA extracted will present a extra concrete understanding for college kids with studying challenges or for visible learners

Moreover…. Extracting DNA is hands-on and fascinating.

Earlier than starting this exercise, current an outline of the method and the aim of every step on this DNA extraction exercise. Will probably be a extra significant studying expertise in case your youngster is aware of why the chop up the pumpkin and why cleaning soap and alcohol is added.


An Overview of Extracting DNA from a Plant Cell


There are 3 steps within the DNA extraction course of used for this exercise:

  1. Break down the cellulose that’s the protecting layer of the cell wall in plant cells.
  2. The second step in extracting DNA is getting via the cell membrane. The cell membrane is product of lipids (fat). That is carried out by including the cleaning soap. The cleaning soap is product of long-chain molecules. One finish of the cleaning soap molecule will not be interested in water (hydrophobic), so it attaches to the lipids. The opposite finish is hydrophilic, so it attaches to the water. This course of breaks open the cell membrane and the DNA is launched.
  3. Use alcohol to precipitate the DNA. DNA doesn’t dissolve in alcohol, so the DNA turns into seen as a milky layer. It’s possible you’ll even see strands of DNA.

You probably have entry to a lab,  you’ll be able to clear the DNA and ensure the presence and high quality of the DNA by way of gel electrophoresis.

A Few Notes About Our Expertise Extracting DNA From a Pumpkin

We ended up doing the DNA extraction course of twice. Our first try at extracting the DNA wasn’t profitable due to a number of potential missteps.

In our second try at DNA extraction, we made some modifications. Whether or not one or a number of made the distinction, we had a really profitable batch on spherical two!

  • The isopropyl alcohol needs to be at a cool temperature (about an hour within the freezer). We had stored ours in in a single day, so possibly it was too chilly. In our second batch, the alcohol had been sitting out for 60 minutes.
  • The pumpkin was pureed an excessive amount of, and the DNA was obliterated
  • We had too little pumpkin puree for the quantity of salt, water, detergent, and alcohol.
  • As a substitute of whirling the pumpkin-salt-water with the cleaning soap, we rigorously put the pumpkin right into a glass bowl and gently stirred within the cleaning soap. Once more, we have been attempting to not obliterate the DNA.

In our second try at extracting DNA from the pumpkin, we didn’t make a soupy puree of the pumpkin. We used a Ninja and gave it about 5 good pulses. We nonetheless had bits and small chunks.

Additionally, we crammed the Ninja one time with pumpkin, chopped it slightly, set the contents apart in a bowl. Then we did one other batch within the Ninja. We added that to the pumpkin within the glass bowl.

Subsequent, we gently stirred the detergent into the pumpkin combination.

Watch a Video of this DNA Extraction Exercise (It’s such a straightforward undertaking!)


Here’s a fast video of the exercise, then beneath are the directions. You’ll be able to shortly print the exercise supplies checklist and directions by clicking the Print button.




Directions for Extracting DNA from a Pumpkin

Extract DNA from a Pumpkin

Extract DNA from a pumpkin utilizing family supplies.


  • Minimize off a piece of the pumpkin and clear off the “insides.” Minimize the pumpkin into small chunks that can match into the blender.

  • Add 1/2 cup of water.

  • You need to mix it simply sufficient to chop the pumpkin into small items however not liquefy it. We did about 5 pulses on our blender. After we over-processed the pumpkin, it could have obliterated the DNA, which can have been why our first batch did not work.

  • In case your blender is just too full, rigorously switch the pumpkin to a bowl and add one tablespoon of salt.

  • Add 1/4 cup of the clear dishwashing liquid. Stir rigorously with a spoon, however combine completely.

  • Place the espresso filter securely into the funnel, and place the funnel securely over a glass beaker or cylinder or a ingesting glass

  • Fill the funnel 2/3 of the best way with the pumpkin combination. Enable the pumpkin water to empty for 20 minutes or so. We made a makeshift funnel with one other espresso filter and a small beaker, to assist facilitate this step within the course of.

  • When sufficient pumpkin water has drained, collect the 1/4 of isopropyl alcohol. Tilt the glass barely and slowly put the alcohol into the glass down the tilted facet of the glass. The objective is to kind a layer of the alcohol on prime of the pumpkin water. Gently place the glass flat on the work floor and wait.


  • Put the alcohol within the freezer for no less than 2 hours. Alcohol doesn’t freeze, so you can’t get the alcohol too chilly.
  • We opted for clear dishwashing liquid with none sturdy scents. Under is a photograph of the label from the dish cleaning soap we used
  • It takes some time for the liquid from the pureed pumpkin combination to empty via the espresso filter. We arrange two glasses with funnels and filters and a makeshift funnel (pictured beneath).
  • We used our Ninja as an alternative of a full-sized blender.

You will notice a milky layer kind between the pumpkin water combination and alcohol. This layer incorporates the strands of DNA that have been launched from the cells.

DNA extracted from pumpkin cells.


Extracting DNA from a Pumpkin – Clarification of What Occurred and Why


Cellulose is discovered within the cell wall of each plant cell, together with each cell within the pumpkin used on this exercise. Cellulose is the substance that gives power to the cell wall and helps with water absorption, which helps preserve the plant hydrated. Cellulose is a posh carbohydrate that doesn’t break down in water.

By placing the pumpkin via the blender, we’re breaking apart the cellulose within the cell partitions.

Now, the cell membrane is the cell wall contained in the cellulose. This cell membrane is product of lipids (fat) and proteins.

Subsequent, we have to perceive extra about detergent molecules. Detergent consists of lengthy molecules, additionally referred to as surfactants. Every of those lengthy molecules has a head and a tail. The pinnacle is interested in water; in different phrases, it’s hydrophilic.

The tail is interested in dust and grease, this attraction attribute is named hydrophobic.

So, when detergent is used to scrub dishes, the hydrophobic finish of the surfactant attaches to the grease on the dishes. The hydrophilic finish attaches to the water.

After we added the detergent to the pumpkin juice, the detergent hooked up to the lipds (fat) within the cell membrane. The hydrophilic finish of the detergent molecule hooked up to the water. These actions trigger the cell wall or membrane to rupture and the cell is disintegrated in a course of referred to as lysis.

After we rigorously added the layer of alcohol, the DNA that was within the cell does precipitate out as a result of it doesn’t dissolve in alcohol (This implies DNA will not be soluble in alcohol.), so the strands of DNA clump collectively and look milky in look.


Assets to Use Alongside This DNA Extraction Challenge





Extracting DNA activity is easy and amazing!




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