Yesterday the Nuig Cell Explorers came to our class. They are a group of biologists from the college who came to teach us about DNA and cells. We had great fun with them! They gave us lab coats and then showed us a presentation on DNA. We learned that there are 1,000,000,000 cells in the human body and that each cell contains a strand of DNA. DNA is like the 'brain' of the cell, telling the cell what to do. Each group had demonstrators who were very helpful. We were shown how to extract DNA from a banana. We had to squash up a banana in a plastic bag and then add saline. To get rid of fat from the banana we added soap. Next we added an alcohol called ethanol. Bananas don't like ethanol so when we poured the solution into a tube, bubbles appeared. This was the bananas DNA. We then scooped out the DNA and put it safely into small test tubes that we placed in a bag and brought home to show our families and friends. After the experiment we watched another presentation and discovered that a strand of DNA is 1.8 meters tall but 32,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair! We learned that DNA has a backbone and without it the strand would fall apart. We were then instructed to build a strand of DNA in pairs. The pieces that make up DNA are sugars, phosphates and bases. The bases are called C,G,T and A. T and A attach and C and G attach. The sugars and phosphates are then added and the final product looks like a spiral staircase. It was all very interesting and we had so much fun! By Tom, Kate and Aenghus.
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