How to Extract DNA From Anything Living

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In this genetics activity, learners discover how to extract DNA from green split peas. This resource guide includes a brief explanation of DNA and provides suggestions for ways to experiment with DNA extraction further.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

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


Materials List (per student)

  • 1/2 cup of split peas (100 ml)
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt (less than 1ml)
  • 1 cup cold water (200ml)
  • blender
  • strainer
  • container like a measuring cup
  • 2 tablespoons liquid detergent (about 30 ml)
  • test tubes or other small glass containers
  • pinch of enzymes (meat tenderizer)
  • rubbing alcohol (70-95% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
  • 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 hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah

Source Collection

  • Teach.Genetics


  • All rights reserved, University of Utah, 2008

Funding Source:

  • Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, 1 R25 RR16291-01