The biotechnology of cloning strawberries and healthcare

The biotechnology of cloning strawberries and healthcare

by Spc. Colene Copeland
Stripes Japan

Editor’s note: At Stripes Japan, we love to share your stories and share this space with our community members. Here is an article written by Spc. Colene Copeland from U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria. If you have a story or photos to share, let us know at japan@stripes.com.

 

Serology and DNA go hand and hand with biotechnological advances. Serology is the study of human body fluids like blood and investigates antibodies in the serum of these bodily fluids. Extracting DNA from strawberries is a great experiment to try at home and incredibly easy and fun way to see DNA reproduction and cloning.

First, you will need a glass cup or beaker filled with 90 ml of water. Next, place isopropyl (C3H8O) alcohol in the refrigerator to use later on in the experiment. Add 2 tsp of dish soap into your cup or beaker. You will then add ¼ tsp of salt and mix it in all together until it dissolves completely. The outcome will be the extraction liquid which will extract the DNA out of the strawberries.

Next, take one strawberry and remove the stem from the top, then place it in a ziplock plastic bag while pouring in the extraction liquid mixture you just made in as well. Remove all air from the bag before sealing the bag up tightly. You are going to now smash the strawberry up in the bag as much as you can without leaving any large chunks. After, using a strainer, strain the strawberry pulp into the cup of water you poured earlier. 

Once you have poured all of the strawberry mixture into the glass container, you might want to pour the mixture into a smaller glass so it will be more concentrated, depending on your preference. You are going to pour one teaspoon of the isopropyl alcohol into the container with the strawberry liquid mixture. Now, you will begin to see a layer of white froth forming on top.

The mixture is separating. The white foam you see on the top is the strawberry’s genetic material DNA. Carefully remove this layer with tweezers and place on a dish or clear palette to examine. You have just separated DNA from a strawberry! For more information on this experiment, check out this link here: Strawberry DNA - Food Science | Science Experiment

With the DNA of the strawberry, we can grow an exact copy of that strawberry in a scientific lab setting along with the proper care and nurture of the plant. The cloning of fruits and vegetables is actually more common than you might think. Many crops in the U.S. are cloned for the desired genetic outcome of the plant type. Corn is one of the most commonly cloned crops due to the demand for grocery produce and popcorn products. Cotton is another crop often cloned. We’ve been eating (and wearing) cloned products and have not even realized it!

Some countries, like South Korea, have businesses to clone the family dog if you have skin tissue or muscle tissue to do so. While the ethics and morality of cloning have long been debated, cloning humans is still illegal.

Tissue regeneration is actually a good thing that comes from cloning humans. We can regenerate human ears and other body parts by growing them with the genetically manipulated cells that are implanted and developed within the human body. A few years ago, in 2018, a story made headlines in Texas when Army surgeons grew a new ear on a female soldier’s arm after losing her left ear in a car accident. The ear that was grown inside her arm was actually by her own cells.

This biotechnology is amazing because it gives us hope for the future of limb and organ regeneration. The human body is constantly forming and shedding new cells to keep us healthy. Have you ever wondered what is happening when a scab forms over a cut or scratch that you have on your body? That is your body regenerating cells and forming a sort of bandage over the cut or scab with the new growth that will fall off eventually and have a brand-new layer of cells underneath it. Try not to scratch scabs off because the body will just try to make a new scab over the one you have scratched off and might leave a permanent scar. Let your body heal by leaving scabs alone when they form.

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Spc. Colene Copeland with U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria. She is pre-med studying Forensic Medicine, Space and Aviation and Engineering. Spc. Copeland is working towards becoming an orthopedic trauma surgeon focused on the musculoskeletal and joint system. Follow along as she writes about interesting bones in both humans and animals, dives into space medicine, forensic science, engineering, healthcare and medical topics.

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