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DNA Spooling: Isolate DNA from Onion Cells

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    Science Museum of Minnesota

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DNA Spooling: Isolate DNA from Onion Cells

In this experiment, learners isolate Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) from onion cells using a simple extraction procedure. The procedure will take approximately 10-15 minutes and will involve several stirring and filtering steps. At the end of the procedure, learners will be able to spool the long, sticky, stringy DNA strands out of solution.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • onion, chopped
  • salt
  • meat tenderizer
  • liquid soap
  • tea strainer
  • blender
  • glass rod
  • toothpick
  • 70% isopropanol
  • plastic cups


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Limited free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Science Museum of Minnesota, ©2010


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