DNA Extraction

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In this activity related to plant biotechnology, learners extract DNA from fruit to investigate how it looks and feels. The procedure is similar to what scientists have to do before they can use information contained in this DNA. This lesson guide includes procedure and discussion questions to help learners reflect on the process and purpose of DNA extraction.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
4 to 24 hours

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 10 ml of clear shampoo (Suave daily clarifying shampoo)
  • 1.5 g of table salt
  • Distilled H20
  • 1-liter Zipper bag with 20 ml of extraction buffer
  • Skinned and freshly cut kiwi fruit (each fruit cut into 12 pieces) or one large strawberry
  • 500 ml beaker
  • Hot water plate with beaker or saucepan of water set at a constant 60°C
  • Cheese cloth (cut to fit over small beaker)
  • Tape
  • Large cooler with ice water bath
  • Ice cold 95% ethanol
  • 1 small test tube
  • 1 wood applicator
  • Transfer pipettes


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Agricultural Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function
      • Genetic Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Stephens, Janice ; Leach, Jan


  • All rights reserved, The American Phytopathological Society, 2011