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Big biology, big success

Representatives from EMBL-EBI recently took part in a celebration of life science during Big Biology Day in Stamford, UK at as part of the Society of Biology’s Big Biology Week – challenging more than 500 children aged from 3-18 to design, create, and think science. Having trained a group of A Level science students they were able to lead these activities with visiting children and their parents.

Setting up the 'Yummy Gummy DNA' game, using toothpicks and jelly babies to show the bonding of nucleobases in a DNA helix. PHOTO: EMBL/Lindsey Crosswell

Louisa Bellis, a ChEMBL Chemical Data Curator at EMBL-EBI, talks us through some of the activities.

Build-your-own ‘virus' using a polystyrene ball and golf tees. The golf tees represent the protein coat (capsid) that encapsulate the virus and aids in the attachment to the host cell. We encouraged creativity and asked the students to describe what their virus did: answers included makes you 'Love Sick' and gives you 'Time Off School-itis’. PHOTO: EMBL/Adam Gristwood
Build-your-own ‘virus’ using a polystyrene ball and golf tees. The golf tees represent the protein coat (capsid) that encapsulate the virus and aids in the attachment to the host cell. We encouraged creativity and asked the students to describe what their virus did: answers included makes you ‘Love Sick’ and gives you ‘Time Off School-itis’. PHOTO: EMBL/Lindsey Crosswell
This is a completed DNA jelly baby helix. The students were shown that certain coloured jelly babies were specific nucleobases and could therefore only be paired across the helix with certain other nucleobases (so black with yellow and red with green). PHOTO: EMBL/Adam Gristwood
This is a completed DNA jelly baby helix. The students were shown that certain coloured jelly babies were specific nucleobases and could therefore only be paired across the helix with certain other nucleobases (so black with yellow and red with green). PHOTO: EMBL/Lindsey Crosswell
Spell your name in DNA: Showing the children how to spell their name in DNA by using the letters of their name as a genetic code. Each letter of their name was translated into a three letter codon that specified which amino acid was being coded for. PHOTO: EMBL/Adam Gristwood
Spell your name in DNA: Showing the children how to spell their name in DNA by using the letters of their name as a genetic code. Each letter of their name was translated into a three letter codon that specified which amino acid was being coded for. PHOTO: EMBL/Lindsey Crosswell
Spell your name in DNA: Once they had created a strand using their name, we then explained about complementary base pairing and showed them how to create the second strand to form the helix. PHOTO: EMBL/Adam Gristwood
Spell your name in DNA: Once they had created a strand using their name, we then explained about complementary base pairing and showed them how to create the second strand to form the helix. PHOTO: EMBL/Lindsey Crosswell

Tags: EMBL-EBI, outreach, Science and Society, Training

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