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Lab Report

Study questions:

1. Did you use peas or banana? ; pineapple juice or contact lens solution?

Our group used peas and pineapple juice respectively.

2. Describe what you saw when you added the cold ethanol. Did the DNA look like what you
expected?

When we added the cold ethanol to our pea filtrate, we saw a white and filmy border of liquid
where the water and alcohol met. We did not expect that it was already the DNA since I initially
thought that we could see the DNA structure itself. Individual molecules of DNA are too small to
see even with microscopes. In the test tube, thousands of strands of DNA were all clumped
together which made it visible to the naked eye.

3. Describe the purpose of the following:

a. detergent – Soap can clean by removing fats / grease. It acts the same way in the DNA
extraction protocol, pulling apart the fats (lipids) and proteins that make up the membranes
surrounding the cell and nucleus.
b. salt – The salt that was added helped it stick together. It neutralized the charge of the DNA's
sugar phosphate backbone, which makes the DNA less hydrophilic (less soluble in water). DNA
normally stays dissolved in water, but when salty DNA comes in contact with alcohol it
becomes undissolved.
c. pineapple juice – Pineapple (juice) is a protease, meaning they break apart proteins away
from the DNA.
d. blender – It was much efficient to use a blender in dealing with peas during its extraction and
in order for the other components to be fully incorporated to the peas.
e. ice cold ethanol – When salt and ethanol are added to the aqueous solution it forces the
precipitation of nucleic acid out of the solution. Alcohol is less dense than water, so it floated
on top. It separated the DNA from the other cell components, which were left behind in the
water solution.
f. coffee filter – It helps in releasing the DNA from the surrounding cell components of the peas.
The filter removes the larger particles from the solution, allowing only the smaller cell
components such as the DNA, proteins, etc. to filter through.

4. What might be the advantages of using bananas or green peas (instead of other plant material,
e.g leaves) as the raw material in DNA extraction?

DNA found in most fruits can be extracted using common, everyday materials. Bananas and peas
for instance, are soft and easy to pulverize / mash to remove unwanted parts. Also, they have thin
cell walls that can easily break the membrane causing the DNA to appear. Bananas have many
chromosomes in each cell that can yield larger amounts of DNA. Peas, however, have a lesser yield
but is easier to work with due to its size already. Nevertheless, both are exceptional samples to
use in DNA extraction compared to other plant materials, which are either too brittle, hard, or
contains high water content which will result to a watery mixture.

5. Illustrate the molecular structure of DNA. Label the parts. What is about the ice-cold ethanol that
causes the precipitation of DNA?

Using ice-cold ethanol will increase the yield of DNA. The cold alcohol helps the DNA precipitate
(solidify and appear) more quickly. DNA normally stays dissolved in water, but when salty DNA
comes in contact with ice-cold ethanol, it becomes undissolved. When DNA comes out of solution,
it tends to clump together, which makes it visible along with it as it rises into the alcohol.
6. Include a picture of your test tube with precipitated DNA in your lab report