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Will DNA Survive Seperated From Other Cell Componets?

Researched by Tanner M.



The purpose of this experiment was to see, by extracting DNA from an onion; if DNA could survive separated from other cell components. I became interested in this idea while I was watching "DNA: The Life Cell" on "The Discovery Channel"

The information gained from this experiment will benefit society by seeing if DNA will be safe separated from the other cell components.
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My hypothesis is that the DNA will survive separated from the other cell components.

I base my hypothesis on scientists who work with DNA.
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The constants in this study were:

  • Extracted DNA

The manipulated variable was the separation of the DNA.

The responding variable was how long the DNA lived. 

To measure the responding variable I timed how long the DNA lived with a stopwatch.
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200mL Distilled water
  Pair of Glasses 
 Bottle of Ethanol
Dishwashing detergent
1.5gm  Table Salt 
 3gm Meat Tenderizer 

Cutting Board 
Kitchen knife

Coffee Filters 
Large funnel

300mL  Water at 60degrees C
100mL  Ice

Beakers (250mL or bigger)
Wooden spoon
Small test tube

Plastic transfer pipet
15mL Ice-cold Ethanol
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1. Gather Materials 
2. Obtain onion, cutting board, and knife. Chop onions into small pieces.
3. Place chopped onions into an empty 250mL beaker.
4. Measure out the following ingredients 10mL of detergent, 5mL EDTA, and 1.5mLof table salt.
5. Put these ingredients into a 250mL beaker add distilled water to a volume of 100mL.
6. Measure out 3mL of meat tenderizer into a graduated cylinder. Add distilled water to a volume of 50mL, and stir to mix thoroughly.
7. Line large funnel with a coffee filter folded to fit.
8. Wet filter with distilled water.
9. Check temperature of water should be around 60 degrees C.
10. Pour detergent mixture over onions.
11. Place onion mixture in hot water for 10-12 min..
12. Cool onion mixture in ice bath for 5 min., to prevent degradation of the DNA. While the mixture cools, stir gently and press onion pieces against sides of beaker. 
13. Pour mixture into blender, and blend for 1 min. on low speed, then for 30 seconds on 
         high speed.
14. Place lined funnel in empty 250-mL beaker, and pour mixture slowly into funnel.
15. Let liquid filter through into beaker. 
16. Once filtered has collected in beaker get about 6 mL  of the filtrate (filling your test tube about 1/3 full).
17. Add about 3.5 mL of the meat tenderizer solution to your test tubes.
18. Swirl gently to mix.
19. Add 15-20 mL of ice-cold ethanol to the onion mixture, by the time by pouring the ethanol slowly down the side of the test tube.
20. Let test tube sit undisturbed for 2-3 min. Do NOT shake the test tube.
21. Once you have a whitish mass of DNA, place your glass rod into test tube so that the end pokes into the mass.
22. Gently swirl rod, since DNA is very long, stringy molecule, it should spool around the rod so you can lift it out.
23. Place DNA strand into test tube to dry.
24. Time how long the DNA lived, if at all.
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The original purpose of this experiment was to see, by extracting DNA from an onion; if it could survive separated from other cell components.

The results of the experiment were that DNA could live separated from the other cell components for a very long while (Years). 

See the table and Graph


My hypothesis was is that the DNA will survive separated from the other cell components.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted and that DNA lived separated from the other cell components.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder what would happen if you took a cold string of DNA and a room temperature and combined them.

If I were to conduct this project again I would use like to use a microorganism DNA, instead of onion DNA.

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Gregor Mendel did the first DNA experiments; He kept records of every plant that was produced through his pea plant experiment.  He started with 34 varieties of pea seeds in which he noticed 7 opposing characteristics among the plants. The pea plants were self-pollinating plants so Mendel was able to leave them alone after the first generation.  With this generation he bred a tall plant with a short plant by self cross-pollinating them. In result, he noticed that all of the offspring were tall.  The change came in the next generation, though, in which, out of the 1,064 plants obtained, 787 were tall and 277 were short, which was about a 3 to 1 average.

The Cell
DNA is the molecule of life. There are two types, RNA and DNA.DNA is the genetic material that makes up the chromosomes in the nucleus and RNA is in the cytoplasm, which is in the cell. DNA is the "ladder" of heredity. DNA called genes determines the organisms. Genes are located in chromosomes, the threads like things in the nucleus. When cells divide they carry instruction to form proteins. DNA can contain anywhere from a dozen genes (like in a virus), to tens of thousands of genes in a higher organism (humans). When an organism is being created a single DNA cell copies it self to form two exact offspring!

Genotypes and Phenotypes
Phenotypes are the way chromosomes show themselves physically, such as short, tall, fat, skinny. Genotypes is the type of organism the alleles of a certain characteristic, TT, Tt, tt. TT- means that the chromosomes that carry the alleles for a certain characteristic both have a dominant gene, Tt- means that one of the chromosomes of a pair has a dominant gene while the other has a recessive gene for the certain characteristic, tt- means that the chromosomes that carry the alleles for a certain characteristic both have a recessive gene.

The Structure of DNA
DNA is the main genetic material in all-living things. Molecule made up of two complementary strands that are wound around each other in a double helix. The strands are connected by base pairs that look like steps on a latter. Each base pair will only connect with one other: (A) adenine with (T) thymine, (G) guanine with (C) cytosine. We only use 1-3% of are DNA the rest is used as a "decoy" to stop viruses that would literally mutate us.

 Membranes made of fats/oils with some protein tie both the cell and its nucleus together. The "breaking down" of membranes is called lysing; in fact that’s where "Lysol" the dish detergent got its name. Cells contain enzymes. Some of them destroy DNA that is not protected inside the nucleus. Having destroyed the nuclear membranes, it will expose DNA to the enzymes. For example dishwashing detergent is a type of lysing it breaks down the grease on dishes.

The Genetic Code
 The genetic code is the "blueprint" that makes up every living organism. It converts information found in DNA into information needed to make proteins. 

 The dictionary says cloning is the technique of producing a genetically identical duplicate of an organism. The method that Wilmut and Campbell used to clone the sheep "Dolly" in 1997 is called Nuclear Transfer. Nuclear Transfer is transferring the nucleus where the DNA is held, thus where the genetic information is coded. This is basically what DNA does each time it separates.

 DNA is the basis of every living thing. It is the most basic cell next to atoms. DNA has a very unique way of living. DNA is in every living cell. It thrives in chromosomes and chromosomes live in the nucleus of every cell, blood, brain, or any other.
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"DNA Learning Center"[Online] Available
January 3,6,19, 2000

"How to Clone" [Online] Available

Hussell, Scott. DNA analyst, Seattle Washington (interviewed Dec. 3, 5. Jan. 9)

"Nucleic Acids" The American Medical Association: Encyclopedia of Medicine
Edition 1989 733-734

"Parliamentary Research Branch"[Online] Available
December 12, 2000

"Science Education Partnership" Extraction of DNA [Online] Available

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    The people I would like to thank would be mainly Mr. Scott Hussell, he helped me put this project togother and supported me all along the way. Another person I would like to thank would be my mom she supporded me and was there all along the way. I would also like to thank Mr. Newkirk and Mrs. Pasckvalefor putting up with me though all my faults. I would also like to thank anyone that helped me that I have forgoten in this paragraph.

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