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DNA EXTRACTION

Problem ] Hypothesis ] Materials ] Method ] Observations ] Results ] Pictures ] Conclusion ] Bibliography ]

Welcome to my web site!

I'm dedicating this website to all the great discoveries made possible by biotechnology. I'm going to take a minute to you explain a bit about DNA. DNA (Deoxy'Riboneuclaic'Acid) was discovered in the early 20th century. Since the discovery of DNA our lives have changed drastically. We have been able to solve crimes through DNA, clone animals (and eventually humans), farmers crops have become immune to bugs, had a better yield thanks to DNA, and  DNA has also started help fight diseases such as AIDS (Those were just some of the uses DNA has provided us with over the years). Genetic research is used to study disorders such as Down Syndrome and deafness. In the past year scientists have basically completed the mapping of a human being's genome, the genetic blueprint within the DNA of every human cell. DNA is also a key factor in the science of biotechnology. In the province of Saskatchewan of Canada biotechnology is a world leader in GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms). GM technology is a HUGE controversial global issue, especially in Europe.   

I am particularly interested in plant biotechnology.  What has plant biotechnology done for us?  It improves crop yield, reduces the application of pesticide, has produced herbicide resistant crops such as soybeans and canola, improves the nutritional quality of foods such as rice. Biotechnology can help feed the world, make us healthier, and it also benefits the environment. Genetic engineering plays a big role in biotechnology.  For example a desirable trait can be identified in one species and transferred to another species. Genetic engineering is also known as Recombinant DNA Technology. Species have genes identified through DNA extractions. Because I am very interested in biotechnology I decided to do my science fair project on DNA extraction--a first step in genetic engineering. Over Easter holidays I traveled to Saskatoon to the SABIC (Ag West Biotech -- Innovation Place) demonstration lab where I learned a lot more about DNA and biotechnology.

I did some initial DNA extractions and every time I did an extraction I had more questions about the DNA extraction process which is why I am presenting  several problems within my project.

I extracted DNA from several sources (vegetables. fruits, legumes, and different parts of plants) and measured the differences in the amount extracted. I also attempted two different protocols on wheat germ to see if different protocols are needed for different sources. The addition of meat tenderizer was used to again measure the differences in the amount extracted. The differences in temperature of the alcohol was also varied to determine if different amounts of DNA would be extracted. Different parts of the same plant were tested to see if they would extract different or the same amounts of DNA. I also used a strained and unstrained DNA source to see if there would be a difference in the amount extracted. 

It was exciting to extract DNA at home! The appearance of DNA varied: some was long, thin, and stringy, some just floated to the top of the test tube, some appeared thick and globby. It was also interesting to look at the DNA when bright colored sources such as cranberry and parsley were used. Every test tube of every source in any protocol produced varying amounts of DNA. 

This page was last updated on 05/31/01.