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Human DNA Extraction


DNA is found in the vast majority of an organism’s cells. This molecule functions in
providing the plans for building the cell’s proteins. Proteins are vital to the cell, functioning as
structural components as well and functional molecules of the cell. Enzymes and hormones, for
example, are primarily proteins. DNA is located in three different structures within eukaryotic
cells. Nuclear DNA is located in the nucleus; mitochondrial DNA is located in mitochondria, and;
chloroplast DNA is located in the chloroplast of eukaryotic photosynthetic cells.

This experiment shows how to isolate human DNA from the cells of your cheek. A series
of reagents will be used to separate the DNA from the cells. This procedure teaches the
properties of cells, cell membranes, and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).


 Perform extraction of DNA from human cheek cell

 Observe and describe the appearance of DNA as seen by the naked eye.


8% salt solution Graduated cylinder

25% Dishwashing liquid solution 100 mL beaker
70% Isopropyl Alcohol 250 mL beaker
Distilled water Stirring glass rod


1. First, you need to prepare 8% salt solution. Dissolve 8 grams of salt in 92 mL of distilled
2. In another container prepare the 25% dishwashing liquid solution. Mix together 20 mL
dishwashing liquid with 60 mL distilled water.
3. Prepare 50 mL of isopropyl alcohol. Add food color to the alcohol.
4. Pour 10 milliliters of water into a cup. Swirl this water around in your mouth for 30
seconds to a minute.
5. Spit the water into a 100 mL beaker.
6. Pour approximately 10 mL of dishwashing liquid solution into the beaker with your
spitted water.
7. Add approximately 10 mL of the salt solution.
8. Gently stir the contents of the beaker to mix them together.
9. Pour 30 milliliters of isopropyl alcohol down the side of the cup so that it slowly flows into
the liquid.
10. Within a few minutes, the DNA will rise to the surface of the beaker as a cloudy, slimy-
looking substance. It is important not to shake the beaker


1. Did your DNA extraction process work? if not what could be the several reasons
(sources of error)?
2. Were you able to see DNA extracted from the cheek cells? Is so, describe the
appearance of the DNA.
3. What does DNA stand for and what is its function?
4. What is DNA used for when it is extracted?