DNA: The Recipe for Life

Dr Tanja Reinhardt

  • Duration: 60 min
  • Language: English
  • Ages: All Ages
  • Date: January 22, 2021 18:00
  • Recorded: Live session with recording available afterwards
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All living organisms, such as humans or even some viruses, store genetic information using the same molecules — DNA. Your DNA determines what you look like. Learn how to extract DNA and see what this amazing molecule looks like. The participants will learn how to extract DNA from a banana, using simple household items. They will also create a short DNA strand and decode a skeletons DNA to recreate the appearance.

What the participants will need:

  • 1/2 peeled ripe banana (you can also use strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp liquid dishwashing soap
  • resealable zip-top bag (small), you can also use a glass
  • very cold methylated spirit or e.g. 70% alcohol hand sanitizer (without glycerin)placed in freezer ahead of time
  • kitchen paper towel, or a piece of cloth to filter, or small sieve
  • funnel (optional)
  • small narrow glass
  • tea spoon
  • jelly tots, gummy bears or other soft sweets (4 colours and 4 of each colour)
  • 24 toothpicks



Tanja Reinhardt is the Science Centre Coordinator at the Science and Technology Education Centre at the University of KwaZulu Natal (STEC@UKZN). She was instrumental in establishing STEC in 2008 and has grown it from a science museum to a vibrant educational centre for various levels. Apart from developing and delivering workshops she also has a passion for science shows. Tanja’s love for rocks, gadgets and experiments makes her a frequent guest at events such as the Royal Show, ZulFest and SciFest Africa. Her Germanic sense of humour and her passion for geology won her awards as “best workshop presenter” at SciFest Africa in 2013, 2017 and 2019. Tanja holds a Diploma and a PhD in mineralogy from the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.