Need a science experiment for kids that is perfect for summer? Then check out this apple DNA extraction lab experiment! It’s a great activity that older kids can use to learn all about the DNA process.
Fruit DNA Extraction Lab Science Experiment
You might think that DNA is something that cannot be observed with the naked eye, but in this DNA extraction lab experiment, you can literally remove DNA strands from apples or other fruit and see what they look like up close!
This is a really cool biology science experiment that will fascinate kids aged 7-12. Younger kids might not recognize how interesting it really is to see DNA strands isolated! Even so, it is a fun experiment for first grade as well.
And even if you think that the kids might be a little too young, don’t fret! They can still sit with you and observe and learn at the same time.
Science experiments are a favorite in our house, hence why Fun With Mama has a YouTube channel filled with science experiment ideas for kids. Make certain to follow along there as well!
Check out the Fun With Mama’s Kids YouTube Channel here.
The Science of DNA extraction
Each cell in a living thing contains DNA to replicate that cell. Normally, the DNA strands are tightly woven inside the cell. However, in this experiment, the mixture of salt, dish soap, and water breaks down the cell walls allowing the DNA strands to escape. We’ve done our experiment with an apple, but you can also do it with leaves, other fruit, and vegetables.
What you will need for your DNA extraction lab:
- Pipette or eye dropper
- Apples (you can use any fruit)
- Coffee filter
- Rubbing alcohol
- Plastic baggies
- Dish soap
- Meat tenderizer or blender
- Magnifying glass or microscope
Doing the DNA extraction lab experiment
Put your rubbing alcohol into the freezer. This experiment works best if the alcohol is cold.
First, cut the apples into small pieces. Use a meat tenderizer or blender to smoosh the apples into a pulp.
Mix a teaspoon of salt, 1/3 of a cup of water, and a tablespoon of dish soap in a plastic baggie.
Add the apples to the baggie, smash with your hands to mix, and let sit for 2 minutes.
Line the test tube with a coffee filter.
Carefully pour the apple mixture into the test tube. Let the mixture drip into the test tube.
Once the test tube is about half full of apple juice, add a one-inch layer of rubbing alcohol to the test tube.
Let the test tube sit upright for a minute.
Watch as tiny white strings rise to the top of the alcohol layer.
These are the apple DNA strands. Use a magnifying glass to look at them up close!
Carefully remove the strings from the liquid with a pipette. You can see the DNA strands suspended in the pipette. When grabbed, they are slightly viscous and look just a little bit like clear snot.
Place a dot of the extracted DNA onto a microscope slide to view it in even more detail!
Isn’t this such a fun activity? Teaching our kids the importance of learning with this DNA extraction lab activity is certain to prompt some great questions and conversations!