DNA from Peas!

We are now into Module 7 of Apologia Biology Science.    We are learning more about DNA in this section.

The first experiment was to extract DNA from peas.  The instructions say to use split peas.  I do not like peas.  I avoid peas when I can.  Sir Husband; however, loves peas and I still can’t figure out why.  I only purchase a very small bag of frozen baby peas.   The smaller the bag, the better.

So, after reading “split peas”, I had to call someone and ask if that meant cooked, raw, or dried.   No one could help me.  I  am sure they all hate peas too.  After googling  pea something, I came across this little gem.  How to Extract DNA From Any Living Thing.   It is really colorful and full of great information.  If you scroll down a little, you’ll see the visual I was looking for.  A bag of dried yucky split peas.  Visuals are your friends; peas are not.

So, off to the grocery store to buy the cheapest brand of split peas I could find.  When I told Sir Husband what I was planning on doing, he got upset.  I would be putting delicious peas to their death.  I secretly rejoiced and I have yet to tell Sir Husband that I have almost a half bag left.  Don’t tell him, ok?

The first thing we had to do was measure out the peas, water, and salt.

Measureing pea

Then you get to visualize Whirled Peas.  It’s a marvelous thing to see destruction of split peas.

Whirled Peas, gotta love it!   Next strain the pea juice and add soap.


 Then you add meat tenderizer, which cuts the protein away from the DNA. 

After adding alcohol, the fun begins.  First you observe what it looks like from the top.

top view

 See the strands above?  Those are the peas’ DNA. 

Then you get to play with it!


and play with it


and play with it

and play with it.

 Pea DNA

Then I told the students they had to taste the liquid.  They were smart and didn’t believe me. 🙂

14 responses to “DNA from Peas!

  1. That is amazing. Who knew split peas could be so educational. And delicious too!

  2. Yeah, but what do you DO with it? LOL

  3. Cool! Pictures AND movies!! =)

  4. Oh, I just have to say that I never thought taxi-cab yellow and black plaid would come back into style.

    “What?” you ask. “Taxi-cab yellow and black plaid was in style?”

    Well, I’m not sure how in style it was, but I totally rocked that shirt.

  5. interesting, gross, cool, very gross, overall awesome! I love homeschooling!

  6. Thank you for this well-detailed post! We’ll be doing this experiment at my house tomorrow, and I wasn’t sure about dried, canned, frozen, or fresh peas either. (I found your link on Marty’s Homeschooler’s Resources blog.) Thanks for clearing up the mystery. Now, off to the store!

  7. Thanks for sharing – I wasn’t sure about the peas, either! I enjoyed your humor, too.

  8. Thank you Tracy for your nice comments. 🙂

  9. Hey, just clicked and saw it says you have an outdated link. Here is the working one. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/labs/extraction/howto/
    But I looked at the one you linked to, and the only diff was yours says “index.html” on the end and mine doesn’t. Strange, lol. 😉

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