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Do You Think You Have Much in Common With Fruit?

Guest Blog: Bethel Andeghiorghis: Westmount Charter School
Winner of the Genome Alberta Elementary Award at the Calgary Youth Science Fair 2010


I am honoured to have been presented with this Genome Alberta prize. My project was on DNA extractions from fruit. The title of my project was Do You Think You Have Much in Common With Fruit? Believe it or not their genetic material is quite like ours. The scientific question is, Which Stage of Fruit (bananas, kiwis and strawberries) contains more extractable DNA under controlled conditions. The stages of fruit I was using were under ripe, ripe and over ripe.

Image of Gerry Ward presenting award to Bethel Andeghiorghis
Pictured: Gerry Ward presents the Genome Alberta Elementary Award to Bethel Andeghoiorghis at the Calgary Youth Science Fair 2010


My hypothesis for the experiment was, I assume that all the unripe fruit (bananas, kiwis and strawberries) will produce the most amount of extractable and measurable DNA. I believe the amount of extractable DNA in fruit is decreased, as cells are destroyed in the ripening process. After conducting my experiment, I found that only the bananas supported my hypothesis. I had predicted that the under ripe fruit would produce more extractable DNA (deoxyribonucleic acids). The ripe and over ripe bananas produced a smaller amount of DNA because the cells that stick the nutrition break down and begin to decompose when it begins to ripen. The outcome showed me that over ripe kiwis and strawberries produce more measurable DNA. I assume that the ripe and over ripe kiwis and strawberries produce more enzymes "pectinases" which help in breaking down cell walls making it easier to extract the DNA. The under ripe does not produce very much enzymes so it yields less DNA. This means that when bananas ripen its nutritional value increases and when kiwis and strawberries ripen their nutritional value increases.

Applications of genetic extractions

Today, scientists are able to study the genetic code called DNA. DNA has and will continue to contribute and gain in agriculture production. Through genetics, growers are able to improve crops t produce more food on less land. In today’s world this is important because of the increasing human population and decreasing of area for food production. The other thing is, I found that my results I have obtained are important for the society. In my experiment I was looking for what level of ripeness had more DNA and if a level of ripeness had more DNA then it has more nutrition. This can help consumers choose what level of ripeness to buy.


Congratulations to Bethel Andeghiorghis for her achievement at this years Calgary Youth Science Fair. It is nice to see and read the thoughts of our young scientists.
Gerry Ward

Do You Think You Have Much in Common With Fruit?

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