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Standard 3

Formulate an evidence-based explanation regarding how the composition of deoxyribonucleic

acid (DNA) determines the structural organization of proteins.
a. Obtain and evaluate experiments of major scientists and communicate their contributions
to the development of the structure of DNA and to the development of the central dogma of
molecular biology.
b. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information that explains how advancements in genetic
technology (e.g., Human Genome Project, Encyclopedia of DNA Elements [ENCODE]
project, 1000 Genomes Project) have contributed to the understanding as to how a genetic
change at the DNA level may affect proteins and, in turn, influence the appearance of traits.
c. Obtain information to identify errors that occur during DNA replication (e.g., deletion,
insertion, translocation, substitution, inversion, frame-shift, point mutations).

Understanding DNA
Have Your DNA and Eat It Too!
When isolated from a cell and stretched out, DNA looks like a twisted ladder. This shape is
called a double helix. The sides of the DNA ladder are called the backbone and the steps (also
called rungs) of the ladder are pairs of small chemicals called bases. There are four types of
chemical bases in DNA: Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G), and Thymine (T). They form
pairs in very specific ways: Adenine (A) always pairs with Thymine (T) and Cytosine (C) always
pairs with Guanine (G). Your task is to use the following materials and procedure to construct an
edible model of DNA. When you are finished, use toothpicks and tape to label one of each of the
chemical bases.
You will need:

2 pieces of licorice
12 toothpicks
9 pink marshmallows
9 yellow marshmallows
9 green marshmallows
9 orange marshmallows
5 paperclips
Masking Tape

Step 1: Choose one of the sequences below.

Sequence 1: T A C G T A T G A A A C
-orSequence 2: T G G T T T A G A A T T

Step 2: Assemble one side of your DNA molecule.

A piece of licorice will form the backbone and marshmallows will be the chemical bases.
Place a marshmallow on the end of a toothpick so that the point of the toothpick goes all the way
through. Anchor the toothpick into the licorice backbone. Refer to the table above to choose the
correct color marshmallow to represent the chemical bases in your sequence.

Step 3: Label the backbone.

With a marker or pen and masking tape, label your licorice backbone DNA- 1 or DNA-2
depending on which sequence you used. Write the label on the left end of the licorice.
Step 4: Match the chemical base pairs.
Place the color marshmallow for the matching chemical base on the other end of each
toothpick. Remember that A always pairs with T and C always pairs with G!
Step 5: Complete your DNA model.
Attach the other backbone so your model looks like a ladder.
Step 6: Twist your DNA model.
Carefully twist your DNA molecule so that it looks like a double helix.
Step 7: Label your model.
Make flags to label the parts of your DNA out of paper clips and tape. Label one of each of
the following: Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Backbone. Make sure your chemical
base pairs are correct!

Understanding DNA
DNA Isolation from Strawberries
This is a simple, effective protocol for spooling DNA. Ripe strawberries are an excellent source
for extracting DNA because they are easy to pulverize and contain enzymes called pectinases and
cellulases that help to break down cell walls. And most important, strawberries have eight copies
of each chromosome (they are octoploid), so there is a lot of DNA to isolate.

The purpose of each ingredient in the procedure is as follows:

Shampoo or dishwasher soap helps to dissolve the cell membrane, which is a lipid bilayer.
Sodium chloride helps to remove proteins that are bound to the DNA and neutralizes the charge
repulsion that occurs between DNA strands. It also helps to keep the proteins dissolved in the
aqueous layer so they dont precipitate in the alcohol along with the DNA.
Ethanol or isopropyl alcohol pulls out water molecules in the DNA and causes it to precipitate.
When DNA comes out of solution it tends to clump together, which makes it visible. The long
strands of DNA will wrap around the cotton swab when it is swirled at the interface between the
two layers.

Notes on Materials and Recipes

Use Ziploc TM freezer bags rather than sandwich bags, as they are thicker.
Fresh or frozen strawberries can be used. Be sure to thaw the frozen berries at room
temperature. Bananas or kiwi fruit can also be used but yield less DNA.
Use non-iodized table salt or laboratory-grade sodium chloride.
95% ethanol or 91 or 100% isopropyl alcohol can be used to precipitate the DNA. Isopropyl
alcohol can be purchased from a pharmacy. Whichever you use, make sure it is ice cold by
placing in an ice-water bath or in the freezer.

DNA Extraction Buffer

100 ml (3/8 cup) shampoo (without conditioner) or 50 ml dishwasher detergent
15 grams sodium chloride (2 teaspoons)

Water to 1 liter

DNA Isolation from Strawberries

Materials per student group
3 strawberries. Frozen strawberries should be thawed at room temperature.
10 ml DNA Extraction Buffer (soapy salty water)
about 20 ml ice cold 91% or 100% isopropyl alcohol
1 Ziploc TM bag
1 clear conical tube
1 funnel lined with a moistened paper towel
1 cotton swab

1. Remove the green sepals from the strawberries.
2. Place strawberries into a Ziploc TM bag and seal shut.
3. Squish for a few minutes to completely squash the fruit.
4. Add 10 ml DNA Extraction Buffer and squish for a few more minutes. Try not to make a lot of
soap bubbles.
5. Filter through a paper towel set in a funnel, and collect the liquid in a clear tube. Do not
squeeze the paper towel. Collect about 3-7 ml liquid.
6. Add 2 volumes ice cold isopropyl alcohol to the strawberry liquid in the tube. Pour the
isopropyl alcohol carefully down the side of the tube so that it forms a separate layer on top of
the strawberry liquid.
7. Watch for about a minute. What do you see? You should see a white fluffy cloud at the
interface between the two liquids. Thats DNA!
8. Spin the cotton swab in the tangle of DNA, and pull out the DNA! The fibers are millions of
DNA strands.
9. Rinse your funnel. Put the Ziploc TM bag and paper towel in the garbage.
For reference

Understanding DNA

What is a "strand" of DNA?

How many strands make up a DNA double helix?

Each strand is made up of two zones or regions. One zone of each strand is made up of
identical repeating units, while another zone is made up of differing units. What are these
zones of each strand called?

What holds one strand against the other in the double helix?

How do cells make accurate copies of DNA?

When do cells duplicate their DNA?

What information is coded into DNA?

What is a "codon"?

What is "transcription" of DNA?

What is "translation" of DNA?