Teenager astounds scientists by building a DNA testing machine in his bedroom
Fred Turner, 17, built the machine from items he found around his house, including an old video player, after becoming fascinated by why he has straight brown hair, while his younger brother Gus, 14, has a shock of ginger curls.
Fred from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, impressed scientists so much that he has been named the UK’s Young Engineer of the Year.
He said: ‘After years of jokes from my friends saying me and Gus have different dads, I built the machine to test once and for all why my brother is ginger and I’m not.
‘The theory is that red hair appears in people with a mutated gene.
’They have two copies of a recessive gene which causes a mutation in the MC1R protein in DNA.
‘I built the machine so I could put that theory to the test and see for myself if Gus has that mutation, which would explain why Gus has ginger hair.’
Fred’s machine, known as a polymerase chain reaction machine, cost him just £250 to build – compared to the £3,000 he would have had to fork out for a new one - and successfully tested the theory.
He explained: ‘I collected DNA from my brother’s cheek using a swab so I could test to check if he had a mutated gene.
‘The machine makes copies of this DNA and you can test how it reacts under different temperatures.
‘Heating and cooling the sample allows you to separate the DNA so I was able to see whether my DNA was different to my brother’s.
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