Tag Archives: DNA from peas

Module 7 – Cellular Reproduction and DNA

I believe my class is ready for Christmas break.  The last few Tuesdays, the students have been lethargic.  I thought for sure the extraction of pea DNA would wake them up.  Nope.

It is always a good idea to practice your experiments before going into the classroom.   Rule #1: If it doesn’t work at home, it will not work in the classroom.  Yeah, it really doesn’t.

What you will need:

  • A good blender
  • Toothpicks (long wooden skewers work best)
  • Clear liquid soap  (Dawn works best and we used the blue one)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Strainer
  • Glass jar
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Rubbing alcohol  (cold)

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I did this experiment at my home the night before co-op.  I used Sam’s Club antibacterial hand soap with light moisturizers.  It didn’t work, people.  It didn’t even work the next day at co-op.  See Rule #1 above.

The next week, we begin again.  We follow the directions and whirl some peas around.

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Then strain the liquid out using a tea strainer.

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Add the soap. This time I used the blue DAWN liquid dish soap.  The experiment said to use clear, but I didn’t have any.  We had no problem with the blue soap.

A coffee stick was used to stir.  A wooden skewer works so much better.

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After adding cold Rubbing Alcohol (I put it in the refrigerator), there is DNA!  Woo-hoo.  Students did not care. LOL

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The white stringy stuff is the DNA.  Looks like nose goo.  Lovely.

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If you use a long wooden skewer, the DNA will stick to it and you’ll be able to bring the DNA out of the jar for a closer look.

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Please have a look at my post from 2009, DNA from Peas!    I don’t know how we did it, but this is the best example of this experiment.

I am sorry for not keeping up with what is going on in Biology.  This week I have several post scheduled to get us caught up, then we break for Christmas.


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. 🙂