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Science Festival 2016 : Genetics events in the marquee

Image above: Some of the Genetics team in the marquee

Over two thousand people visited the Plant and Life Sciences marquee, where a team from the Departments of Genetics and Pharmacology presented the “Highlighting Biology with Fluorescence Microscopy” event. Visitors were introduced to the concept of fluorescence by illuminating household materials, such as tonic water and washing up liquid, with ultra-violet light.

Image on home page :  "Wow" is written in a Petri dish with E.coli. The fluorescent liquid in the 1 litre bottle is tonic water, which contains quinine. The fluorescent liquid in the tall container is washing up liquid, which contains fluorescein. Both quinine and fluorescein fluoresce under UV light. In back: A fluorescent plant.

Visitors were taught how cell biology was transformed through the discovery of fluorescent proteins, and how these are now used to investigate the internal structures and workings of cells. To demonstrate this importance of Green Fluorescent Protein and its derivatives to the life sciences, visitors viewed glow-in-the-dark plant, fly and bacteria specimens. They then took on the role of a researcher as they prepared their own microscope slides to look for fluorescence in live yeast cells, whilst some of the younger guests channelled their inner van Gogh to produce fluorescent artwork.

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Above: Channelling that inner Van Gogh - Art meets science! An image of a jellyfish was used because GFP can be isolated from the Crystal Jellyfish

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Above: A young visitor samples some yeast for viewing under a microscope

The exhibit was organised by Rhys Grant, and supported by the Royal Society of Biology and GT Vision.

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Above: Catherine Lindon demonstrates

Team members in the marquee included: Marisa Segal, Catherine Lindon, Helene Rangone, Melissa Antoniou-Kourounioti, Rhys Grant, Zhiang Guo, Junyan Liu, Chris Connor, Santaigo Cano Muniz, Begum Akman.

Photo credits : Rhys Grant, Zhiang Guo


>> Read on, about events in the Department