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Do-It-Yourself DNA

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by Teisha Rowland, PhD
Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
DNA, genome, genes, biochemistry, DNA extraction
DNA being extracted from a strawberry solution


Have you ever wondered how scientists get a sample of DNA from a plant, animal, or other organism? All living organisms have DNA. DNA, which is short for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the blueprint for almost everything that happens inside the cells of an organism — overall, it tells the organism how to develop and function. DNA is so important that it can be found in nearly every cell of a living organism. In this activity, you will make your own DNA extraction kit from household chemicals and use it to extract DNA from strawberries.


Teisha Rowland, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.


  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Strawberries (3)
  • Dishwashing liquid for hand-washing dishes
  • Measuring cup for liquids
  • Measuring spoons
  • Glass or small bowl
  • Funnel
  • Tall drinking glass
  • Cheesecloth
  • Re-sealable plastic sandwich bag
  • Small glass jar, e.g., spice jar or baby food jar
  • Bamboo skewer, available at most grocery stores. If you are using a baby food jar or a short spice jar as your small glass jar, you could use a toothpick instead of a skewer.
    Photograph of the materials needed to extract DNA from strawberries at home.
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Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
DNA, genome, genes, biochemistry, DNA extraction