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Nothing to declare but our Gene-ius

11 March 2011 by Dawn

This blog is by Bethan Mackenzie, a PR student and volunteer at National Museums Liverpool.

three skeletons of different sizes, one crouching two standing

It’s a bit chilly in here!

The Inside DNA exhibition at World Museum is an intellectual treat. Walking into the exhibition I am greeted by human skeletons showing off how far we have come. Our nearest surviving relative to humans is the chimpanzee, very cute!

Walking around the gallery there are loads of things to explore. The exhibition is very hands on, there are plenty of touch screens to delve deeper inside DNA and visual activities for literal explanations. One activity, where I had to answer a series of eight questions about eye colour and knuckle hair, told me “Out of 299383 people, you are only the 152nd like you.” This is always nice to know. 

I loved the genome explorer, the results of Human Genome Project where they successfully made sense of the DNA sequence. It was able to tell you which chromosomes where responsible for genetic traits, including behaviour and diseases. I consider myself a bit of a talker therefore I was very grateful to chromosome seven which is the genetic link to our language development and speech.

Even how we react to horror films can be down to our genes! Chromosome 22 is home to a gene called COMT which can influence how we react to extremes of anxiety and stress. All this information fascinated me; I can now blame all my flaws to my genes, total result.

I spent a lot of time in the “courtroom” discovering how studying DNA can help to solve crimes. I now feel prepared for jury service. There is also the opportunity to experience how DNA is collected at the scene; it’s a unique system which I have never seen in a museum before, great fun.

The Inside DNA exhibition (which is open until 8 May 2011) has exceptional, interesting facts, activities and games for all ages. It is very informative and fun. Definitely recommended.

Bethan Mackenzie (PR student and volunteer at National Museums Liverpool).

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