Prepared By arielwaldman for sciencehackday


What does DNA taste like? Aside from the fact that DNA is very small, the materials needed to extract it often aren't edible, or if they are, they're not as delightful as a cocktail.

DNAquiri cocktail at the Science Hack Day in 2011

The DNAquiri is a cocktail of extracted strawberry DNA. The team wanted to extract DNA using all edible materials, so that you would have a cocktail of extracted DNA that you could actually drink. They put together all these materials, they extracted the DNA and see the polymers clumping together, and then you could drink it (albeit rather disgusting 'cause it's super high alcohol content!)

In San Francisco, the two main forces you have here are biotech and space exploration. While we diversify the types of science that are represented, there's always a strong bio-hacking group at Science Hack Day every year. The main person leading the way on this was Patrik D'haeseleer. He does some new bio-hacking thing at Science Hack Day. This one was kind of interesting, being something kind of ridiculous. The idea that you could do this at a party and ‘wow’ people with science is pretty compelling and that was the point of this hack - they went for the more social aspect of it and even put the recipe up on Instructables. 


Preparing the solution

With all of these hacks, the thing that I really appreciate is making the otherwise invisible visible.  A lot of people don't realize that you can actually watch a DNA extraction process. We're told that all this stuff is so small that we can never see it, which is true, but we can watch these processes take place on a larger scale, and we can see the results of that process. People are fascinated it was the idea that you could actually watch the DNA extraction process, and that is actually fairly simple to do.

Hacks like these, by exploring things in very different ways, they could lead to clever solutions and more discoveries. With biohacking and citizen science you’ve got OpenPCR (an open source thermocycler for DNA detection and sequencing), FoldIt (a computer game for crowdsourcing solutions protein folding problems ) and a lot of bio-hacker spaces emerging, which is not only making biotech more accessible, but making the exploration of bio-tech through very untraditional and different approaches much more accessible. It might not totally revolutionize how biotech is done, or lead to the biggest breakthrough, but it will add some much-needed cleverness to science.

Further Reading

DNAquiri: the delicious DNA extraction - Instructables to repeat the process - http://www.instructables.com/id/DNAquiri-the-delicious-DNA-extraction/

DNAquiri at ScienceHackDay.org

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Prepared By arielwaldman on behalf of Science Hack Day

Areas Covered

Acknowledgements & Credits


Patrik D'haeseleer, Bonnie Barrilleaux, Lily Lew, Joseph Elsbernd, Michelle Peters

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