How to Extract DNA at Home – Christmas Lectures with Walter Bodmer


Now let’s have a look before we look at what
the structure of the DNA is, let’s have a look at how we can get DNA ourselves
out of cells. So we’ve got a little experiment here to show
you. In this flask, in this beaker here, we’ve
got some human cells. Going in the laboratory. And we’re going to burst those open and extract
the DNA from them. Now the way that we burst the cells open in
this case is we add a little washing up detergent. Cells don’t like detergent. So just look at what happens when I put some
of that washing up detergent there. See how it goes clear and gooey? That’s the DNA being released from the cells. Now how can we separate out that DNA? It’s very simple. We add a little alcohol,
right? Time for a bit of Christmas spirit. There we are, we add a little alcohol. Now what we can do there is we can fish the DNA that’s been precipitated by the
alcohol out of here. And we’re going to show you just how pretty
it looks. Now Nigel is going to come up here and we’re
going to switch on, now that’s a UV light, a sort of long wave
UV that sometimes makes your shirts look blue. And when we shine that on the DNA, the DNA
will fluoresce. It’ll show up nicely. Now let’s have the lights
down, can we? As we pick out the DNA. Let’s have the lights
down. Let’s have the lights all the way down. And then we’ll see the DNA shining there. That’s the DNA that we’ve isolated from the
centre of the cell in just the same way that we would do any experiments that we do in the laboratory
nowadays.

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