Team:Marburg/Human Practice:Hessentag


Hessentag 2013 Next Previous

On the 23rd of July, we had the pleasure to represent the research field of synthetic biology on the Hessentag (Hessian Day) 2013 in Kassel. The Hessentag is the the oldest and largest state fair in Germany and is hosted every year by another hessian town. Besides many cultural events, like concerts and parades also the sciences are represented by the state initiative „Hessen schafft Wissen” ('Hesse creates knowledge'). Together with SYNMIKRO (Center for Synthetic Microbiology) we informed the visitors about Synthetic Biology and our iGEM project. To reach particularly the young minds we offered a ‘do it yourself’ experiment to purify DNA from sweet peppers with household tools. In order to repeat this fascinating experiment at home or to share it with family and friends, we designed a postcard with the protocol. For us it was a great pleasure to introduce the people in the principles of Molecular and Synthetic Biology and we were very impressed by the great knowledge of some kids. For example one 9-year old said “DNA? Oh I know that! You can convict criminals with it!”. And during the kids were working with such an enthusiasm we had the chance to talk with their parents. All in all we enjoyed a great day in Kassel with happy kids and many interesting conversations about our project and the future of synthetic biology (see also: SYNMIKRO).


Protocol: DNA extraction from sweet peppers

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) encodes the genetic information of all organisms. Here a recipe to isolate DNA from sweet peppers in a few easy steps:

  1. Grind up the sweet pepper with a pinch of salt in a blender or with mortar and pestle.
  2. Pour the liquid (with a sieve) in a bowl and add 15 ml dish soap and a pinch of the enzyme papain (normally used to tenderize meat, you can find it in the spice section). Then allow the liquid to stand for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. Transfer the viscous liquid in a high glass or a test tube and then carfully add alcohol (with at least 70% ethanol). The aim is to get a two finger's breadth layer of alcohol on top.
  4. After a few minutes DNA will rise as long white filaments.