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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.


Bus drivers given 'spit kits' to catch offenders

Bus drivers across the West Midlands have been given 'spit kits', mini DNA devices to help police track anyone who spits at them or fellow passengers.

The kits given by police are made up of swabs, gloves and special bags allow staff to collect saliva samples to be sent for forensic analysis.

So far this year there have been 88 reported cases of people spitting on regional buses.

Following a trial on Birmingham City Centre buses several offenders have already been traced including a 24-year-old man who was jailed for 12 weeks after spitting at a bus driver.

"Spitting is a disgusting, despicable offence and we will push for common assault charges against offenders.

"This type of DNA processing has been used on the railway previously and our trial has been successful. Drivers and passengers should not be expected to tolerate it on our bus routes and these spit kit devices allow us to obtain irrefutable DNA evidence which helps us track offenders and secure convictions at court."

– Police Constable Sarah Hipkins