Virtual Community Lab: Extract DNA from Wheat Germ


  • Lidded Container with about 1 gram of wheat germ, fruit, or vegetable (i.e. strawberries, bananas, peas, etc.)

Note: If using a fruit or vegetable, place in a Ziplock bag. Then mash the Ziplock bag until the contents are completely broken up. You will need to make sure that the DNA is accessible, so it needs to be mashed to a fine pulp.

  • Water
  • Dawn dish soap
  • 70 % IPA
  • Swabs or toothpicks - optional 
  • Small clear tube -optional



1. Pour about 20 mL of water into the container with your material. 

  • WHAT’S HAPPENING? When you add water, this makes the cells easier to break open (lysis) by building up the pressure in the cells.

2. With the lid on, shake the tube gently for 3 minutes. 

3. Squirt about 1 mL of dawn dish soap into the tube. 

  • WHAT’S HAPPENING? The soap will begin to make little holes in the cell wall and the membranes which causes the cells to explode.

4. Gently rock the tube for 3 minutes, trying to avoid making bubbles.

5. With the tube tilted at an angle, gently pour about 15 mL of IPA 70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) down the side of the tube. Do not shake or mix. 

  • WHAT’S HAPPENING? The DNA cannot dissolve in the alcohol so it will be present as a solid in the alcohol layer.

6. You should see a white gloppy substance starting to form in the top layer of the tube. Take a swab or toothpick and swirl it like spaghetti to gather the DNA.  You can scoop, spin, and twirl but do not stir.

7. (Optional) Once you have collected the DNA goo on the stick, put it into a small clean tube. This is your DNA sample!


If you share a picture of your DNA on social media, use the hashtag #BiogenCommunityLab