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Schoolchildren to solve first DNA fingerprinting case

It's 30 years since DNA fingerprinting was discovered Credit: PA

Leicestershire schoolchildren will get the chance to solve the first ever case where DNA fingerprinting was used.

The University of Leicester's Department of Genetics is running its annual outreach event Dynamic DNA today and tomorrow, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of DNA fingerprinting in the Department's 50th year.

Approximately 600 Year 9 children and their teachers from schools across Leicestershire will get the chance to take part in more than 20 fun, engaging and educational activities, to inspire young students to pursue scientific careers.

This year, the children will also be able to go back in time and try to solve Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys's first ever case at Leicester using DNA fingerprinting, in which he proved that a young boy was in fact the son of a British woman, and therefore entitled to UK nationality.

For the newly developed hands-on activity 'Be Sir Alec', the original DNA profiles of the disputed boy, his mother and three undisputed siblings have been replicated, allowing the children the opportunity to try and decide for themselves whether they think he was indeed his mother's son.


Top tips for seeing the best of Perseids meteor shower

The Perseids meteor shower seen last year Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Perseids meteor shower will be at its brightest tonight, and we've got some top tips if you want to see the best of it:

  • Best seen between 10pm and 2am
  • The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky
  • Avoid looking at the moon as its brightness will prevent other meteors being seen
  • Look away from towns and cities to avoid the bright lights
  • We are expecting patchy cloud across the Midlands tonight, so look for the breaks in the cloud
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Touchscreen tortoises studied by Lincoln academic

Tortoises have been the subject of a study led by a University of Lincoln academic.

The reptiles were monitored to test their navigational skills and managed to work out how to win a strawberry by pressing the screen.

A red triangle on the screen was followed by two blue circles. The tortoises were trained to press either the left or right circle to get a strawberry.

Dr Anna Wilkinson found that when food was given to the tortoises in two blue bowls, similar to the circles, the tortoises went for the food on the same side as the circle they were trained to press.

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Touchscreen tortoises lead scientific research

Scientists at the University of Lincoln have discovered the reptiles are really rather quick on the uptake in groundbreaking research using the kind of touch screen technology we are all accustomed to.

They might be on the slow side and give a rather ponderous appearance, but it seems the humble tortoise is actually something of a whizz when it comes to learning new skills.

Victoria Whittam reports:


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Tortoises learn to use touchscreen

Researchers at the University of Lincoln have trained tortoises to use touchscreens as part of a study to test the animals' intelligence.

The reptiles were given a choice of shapes on a screen and managed to work out how to win a strawberry by pressing a blue circle on screen. Watch them in action:

Researcher Dr Anna Wilkinson explains why the tortoises are willing to perform: