Scientist vortexing a solution.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Scientist vortexing a solution to suspend a blood pellet, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, May 2000. Red blood cells do not contain DNA as they lose their nucleii (the compartment in a cell that contains the DNA) as they mature. Blood DNA is contained in the white blood cells. To extract it, a small sample of blood is spun at high speed to separate the cells from the blood fluid. Next, the DNA is released from the cells using a detergent and a special enzyme. Finally, alcohol is added, which makes the DNA appear as a sticky blob in the mixture.