Honiton pupils solve tough genetic riddle

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 March 2016 | UPDATED: 08:59 23 March 2016

HCC students try to crack the genetic riddle.

HCC students try to crack the genetic riddle.


Students from Honiton Community College (HCC) got hands-on in university laboratories as they used genetic processes commonly seen in TV crime dramas to help solve a mystery.

The pupils tackled a scenario in which scandal had erupted on Devon’s sporting scene as previously unknown athletes smashed all known records.

The pupils were told the police had called on the only team who could scrutinise the mysterious yeast found in their bags - The X-Men in White.

The college pupils worked alongside nearly 150 science sleuths, drawn from schools across Devon, Dorset and Somerset, with special operatives from the University of Exeter Medical School.

They worked to identify which of three supervillains was guilty of rigging Devon’s premier sporting event by doping runners with a mutant yeast.

Now in its 11th year, the medical school’s popular outreach event engages year nines from 11 schools.

The plot sees pupils stain yeast DNA on slides and examine them under microscopes to find the mutant strain, as well as having a go at clinical procedures such as blood sugar sampling and blood pressure testing to learn more about their bodies.

Mel Barker, head of science at the college, said: “Our pupils get an immense amount out of the first-hand experience of working alongside experts in their scientific fields.

“It takes it a step beyond what we can do in our labs at school and inspires them to consider science as a career by getting them to think about where they could be in a few years’ time.”

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