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Go bananas for DNA

April 22, 2016

Monday is National DNA Day, and researchers from Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences have invited the public to come learn about DNA with an interactive experiment.

From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. April 25 outside the Noble Library on the Tempe campus, assistant professor Melissa Wilson Sayres’ lab will be extracting DNA from bananas and offering insight into the less understood aspects of DNA. According to Wilson Sayres, who is also a researcher at the ASU Biodesign Institute, the fruit was selected for its unique qualities.

“Bananas are easy to mash up, so we can easily break their cells apart and extract the DNA using common household products,” Wilson Sayres said. “We can extract DNA out of all the food we eat, and think it is important to highlight this fact.”

National DNA Day celebrates the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953. Dozens of events will be held around the country, all with the common goal of educating the public about the importance and function of DNA.

“Although the term has become integrated into everyday language, there are still many misconceptions about what DNA is,” Wilson Sayres said. “DNA Day is a wonderful opportunity for us researchers to reach out to the community to talk to them about our research and address any questions they have about DNA.”

If you can’t attend the event, you can learn more on the Ask A Biologist website.

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