Glowing Cats and T-Rex Chickens – just genetic modification! Posted - 04/12/2019

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Simon Watt, a biologist, visited Reed’s to give us lecture about genetics and potential real-life super­heroes as part of our FutureTech curriculum, a STEM programme which encourages technological literacy. The talk was really inspirational and clear to understand - considering genetics is such a difficult topic to learn!

He used Chinese Whispers as a good example of evolution, with every person representing a new generation and the message representing the genetic material. During this he burst balloons (representing viruses or diseases) in our ears to show a clearly how the genetic code can easily be misread and therefore become mutated. After understanding the basics of genetics, he gave examples of genetically modified animals. In Canada, a man has discovered a species of chicken that has dinosaur DNA ‘switched off’ inside them, and that switching this DNA on could create dinosaurs. So far his chickens have got T-rex teeth but nothing more as yet— which is a relief! Another strange example: there is a gene within cats that when it switches on, makes them glow in the dark; currently in China there are about six glowing cats.

Overall, I thought the lecture was very interesting as it links well to our FutureTech lessons with genetic modification and it gave me a greater insight into some of the amazing possibilities with this type of technology!                                

Charles Tiedeman, Third Form pupil

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