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The NileRed video What is DNA and what does it taste like? | Edible Chem shows the extraction of a surprisingly large amount of DNA from some strawberries. At 02:22 the narrator says:

What I think is really cool, is that it’s actually possible to isolate DNA from pretty much any living thing. For this video though, I’ve decided to get it from strawberries, because it’s one of the easiest sources.

I'm wondering if DNA is inherently easier to extract from strawberries than other fruits, vegetables, or other foods in general, or if for some reason there is more DNA (or DNA plus other molecules bound to it) it in strawberries than other foods to begin with.

What is DNA and what does it taste like? | Edible Chem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=araeHtN_3Lk

What is DNA and what does it taste like? | Edible Chem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=araeHtN_3Lk

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    $\begingroup$ As he is mentioning later in the video a "major reason" why he used strawberries, is that it's easy to crush them. In order to extract DNA from the tissue you need to damage the cells. We used tomatoes once, but with a blender. Works just as well.. $\endgroup$
    – Frieke
    Feb 11, 2019 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Frieke I was hoping for something more profound ;-( I am vaguely aware that some plants have absurdly huge genomes, and I was hoping that there was some amazing factoid about the strawberry genome being particularly huge. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 11, 2019 at 15:40

1 Answer 1

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There's more than one reason behind the use of strawberries:

  • They are octoploid (8n), so they have eight copies of each chromosome per cell, i.e., there is a lot of DNA to isolate per unit of volume;
  • Ripe strawberries contain enzymes (pectinases and cellulases) that help to break down cell walls and aid in the release of the DNA;
  • They are easy to pulverize;
  • They are cheap, readily available, and their use is not restricted by ethical constraints.

Note that the genome (i.e., 1n) of strawberries is not particularly big, i.e., around 700 Mbp; for comparison, humans have more than 6 Gbp. Given that human are 2n, the total amount of DNA per strawberry cell is about half that in a human cell.

Source
- University of Washington - this pdf file

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