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Did you know that there is a link between Agatha Christie and the DNA double helix? Come along to find out how a 2 metre-long DNA molecule is wrapped in a tiny microscopic cell nucleus, and how this molecule can help in catching the most cunning criminals!
It’s forensic DNA evidence, but not as you know it
Dr Georgina Meakin (Associate Professor)
TV shows would have us believe – wrongly – that most forensic scientists look like models and DNA found at crime scenes always comes from the offender. While many scientists would be happy to be mistaken for a model, misinterpreting DNA found at a crime scene obviously has much graver consequences. Come and find out about the reality of forensic DNA evidence and how we can improve the quality of such evidence through scientific research.
Untangling DNA, one molecule at a time
Dr Alice Pyne (Senior Research Associate)
Did you know that the DNA in each of your cells is taller than you are? You have around 30 trillion cells in your body and each has a 2 metre-long DNA molecule, meaning that you have enough DNA to wrap around the earth over a billion times! This DNA gets compacted into the cell nucleus, which is only a tenth of the width of a human hair. From this highly compacted bundle, DNA is continually unravelled, read and copied, which can result in knotted, tangled and twisted structures. I use a microscope which ‘feels’ the surface of DNA molecules to see these complex structures with a 1x10^9 X zoom.