Is That DNA in My Food?

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In this activity, learners extract DNA from wheat germ. Use this activity to introduce learners to DNA, biotechnology and genetic engineering. This activity is featured on pp.21-22 (part of a lesson that begins on p.18) of the "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Agricultural Biology" unit of study for grades 6-8. Adult supervision recommended.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • hot plate
  • 600 mL beaker
  • beaker tongs or glove
  • 300 mL of water
  • thermometer
  • several balances
  • liquid dishwashing detergent
  • dry wheat stalks (from hobby or flower store)
  • raw wheat germ
  • test tubes
  • test tube stoppers
  • 100 mL graduated cylinders
  • 1 mL pipettes
  • ice-cold rubbing alcohol
  • two wooden sticks
  • Extracting DNA From Wheat Germ handouts (page 35)
  • safety glasses
  • paper towels


  • Engineering and Technology
    • 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
      • Chemistry of Life
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, 2007

Funding Source:

  • Dow AgroSciences LLC