12 Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero - Chapter 1 - Isolating DNA, the Blueprints of Life
Isolating DNA, the Blueprints of Life
Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero is unique in many ways.
So before we jump into the topic of Chapter 1, let’s
learn how the chapters in this book are structured.
You will notice that this book is packed with hands-on
exercises. Each chapter starts with the hands-on
activities so that you can “pull up your sleeves” imme-
diately and start building genetic engineering skills.
“Going Deeper” and “Breakout” sections that will
provide more information about what is going on in
the hands-on exercise. You can read them or skip
them - you decide how much you want to learn. At
some points, you may feel like you need more back-
ground information, but trust us and continue with
the exercise to completion as there is a wealth of
information later on.
Each chapter has a Fundamentals section which covers
These fundamentals are deliberately placed after the
hands-on exercises so that you can use real-world
skills and context to anchor the concepts in the Funda-
mentals. If, during the hands-on, you would prefer
more context, you can always start with the Funda-
mentals and circle back to complete the exercises.
In Chapter 1, you start your Genetic Engineering jour-
ney with a simple, engaging hands-on exercise:
extracting DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) from fruit.
You’ve likely heard of DNA before in classic movies
like Jurassic Park, forensic television shows, or in the
news. But very few individuals have ever seen DNA in
real life or know how to extract it from a living or dead
organism. As you learn how to extract (separate) DNA
from their cells and see it with the naked eye, you will
also be learning the general principles of breaking
cells open & extracting DNA. You’ll likely be surprised
at how much DNA you consume when you eat fruit!
This exercise will help you to more richly understand
the knowledge gained in the Fundamentals section,
which focuses primarily on DNA, its structure, and its
function. Further, by completing the hands-on exer-
cise, you will begin laying the foundation for
understanding and doing genetic engineering in the
chapters to follow.
For this chapter, you do not need any special equip-
ment, and you can do the exercise in your kitchen or
at your desk. Chapter 2 will cover setting up the neces-
sary equipment and space for the exercises in later
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