How to Make DNA With Pipe Cleaners & Pony Beads

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Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the building block of organisms, so it's no surprise it would be an important part of scientific understanding. A helpful way to better understand the nature of DNA is to understand how DNA strands are formed and what they look like. With pipe cleaners and pony beads, you can create a helpful model for study.

Make DNA With Pipe Cleaners & Pony Beads
(Photo by Elizabeth Holli Wood, Diagram with help by Gen Dick)

Things You'll Need

  • Four pipe cleaners, any color
  • 50 pony beads: 17 in pink, 17 in white, four red, four yellow, four purple and four green
Step 1

Cut two pipe cleaners into 6-inch lengths. Alternate stringing pink and white pony beads on each pipe cleaner until you have 17 beads on each. Fold back the excess length of pipe cleaner to hold the beads in place. These will be the strands of your DNA.

Step 2

Cut the remaining pieces of pipe cleaner into eight 2 1/2-inch strips. String four pieces with pairs of purple and yellow. String the remaining four pieces of pipe cleaner with pairs of red and green. These will form your base pairs.

Step 3

Twist your base pair pieces around the strands of your DNA to attach. Position each base pair horizontally and evenly around your strands. Make sure to attach these identically on both sides so that your pink and white beads match up. Hot glue your pieces in place if desired.

Step 4

Twist your strands to form your DNA into a double helix.

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