Sudbury

Laurentian prof to help elementary students break world record for DNA experiment

R.L. Beattie Public School in Sudbury, Ont. wants to break a world record. On Monday the students will attempt to gather the most people conducting a DNA isolation experiment at one time.

Students at R.L. Beattie Public School in Sudbury to separate DNA filaments of bananas

Laurentian University biology professor Thomas Merritt will help students at R.L. Beattie Public School in Sudbury, Ont., attempt to break a world record for the most people conducting a DNA isolation experiment at one time. The current record is 302. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

R.L. Beattie Public School in Sudbury, Ont. wants to break a world record.

On Monday the students will attempt to gather the most people to conduct a DNA isolation experiment at one time.

The current Guinness World Record is 302. That record was set in February 2017 by the Seattle Children's Research Institute.

The Sudbury attempt is an interactive way for kids to learn about genetics says organizer Thomas Merritt, a Laurentian University biology professor.

"It's a simple experiment, but it's a fairly technical experiment if you're 7. It should be just organized chaos, and lots of noise and squishing bananas," says Merritt, adding that it should be a lot of fun.

He says at the end of the experiment, the students will be able to touch the DNA filaments of a banana.

"You get this sort of fine meshwork of these white filaments." Merrit says of the DNA.

The students will use popsicle sticks to scoop the banana DNA.

"You've got a 6 year old holding a phenomenal amount of DNA," says Merritt.

The experiment is part of a 10 day national science outreach project called Science Odyssey, where Canadians can attend a local event, between May 12 to 21.

With files from Robin De Angelis

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