What is Curious Nature?
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Wellcome Sanger Institute is sequencing the genomes of 25 species found in the UK. Every life form has a genome, a set of DNA instructions that make up all living things – from plants to animals, bacteria to fungi. The Curious Nature exhibition at the Wellcome Genome Campus explores some of the species that are having their genomes sequenced for the first time. From the Robin and Golden Eagle to Squirrels, Voles, Otters and Trout, there is a wide range of species being sequenced. What will studying their DNA tell us about their biology and how they have evolved?
Activities and resources
We have developed a selection of activities to support the Curious Nature exhibition, these can be carried out in school, afterschool club and groups or here at the campus as part of an organised visit. They encourage the discussion of living things and their habitats, evolution and the role DNA can play in helping us understand the natural world.
The activities are outlined below. Click on the files at the bottom of the page to download the resources.
These documents provide a short introduction to curious nature, a brief description of all 25 species being sequenced at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and a risk assessment for all activities.
Can you use a key to classify some of the animals being sequenced? Have a go at making your own classification key.
Create an information poster on one of the species being sequenced.
Make a DNA double helix from sweets and cocktail sticks with this hands-on activity.
Try extracting DNA from fruit with this hands-on activity.
Popping seed pods
Make a popping seed pod with this hands-on activity and see who can spread their seeds the furthest.
Make your very own DNA sequence of one of the species being studied.
Can you identify an animal from its poo? Have a go with this activity and discuss how poo can reveal a lot more than you think.