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Lego DNA 2.0: Double Helix History

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Step into the extraordinary world of Lego DNA 2.0: Double Helix History, a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the landmark DNA structure discovery (in 1953)!
 
Lego DNA 2.0 is not just a Lego set – it's a captivating fusion of scientific accuracy and creative play. Here, you can not only recreate the iconic double helix DNA structure with super high accuracy, but also step into the shoes of the scientists and relive the journey of discovering DNA structure by doing the same experiments they did in the lab!
Our 5 scientists are Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, James Watson, Francis Crick and Franklin’s PhD student, Raymond Gosling.
 
 
Inspiring Curiosity and Honoring a Legacy: The Motivations Behind Lego DNA 2.0
 
1.      Promoting science to young kids and adults: I have read and heard many stories of countless scientists who were inspired by toys to become interested in science. Lego DNA 2.0 aims to be one such toy, igniting the flames of curiosity. Each connection of the double helix carries the potential to inspire a future researcher, explorer, or innovator. Every spark ignited in a young mind is a success, whether it be for a lifelong passion for science or an interest in understanding the world around them. Also, due to its accuracy, Lego DNA 2.0 can be used as a learning model for those learning about the DNA structure.
 
2.      Honoring Rosalind Franklin’s Legacy: My favorite scientist is Rosalind Franklin. In her brief life, she made substantial progress in the fields of coal and DNA structure. Despite her many achievements, her crucial role in unraveling the DNA structure remains underappreciated. A Nature article published in April 2023 has revealed further evidence that she contributed more than just Photograph 51, reiterating how her parameters were essential for the model-making process. This recent recognition reaffirms her status as “an equal contributor to the solution of the structure”. Yet, despite her immense contributions, my experience as a school and university student revealed that many did not know her as well as they knew the other involved scientists. As we delve into the world of Lego DNA 2.0, the model aims to ensure that her story resonates with young minds, just as her pioneering work echoes through history. (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-01313-5) (https://apnews.com/article/dna-double-helix-rosalind-franklin-watson-crick-69ec8164c720e0b23374da69a1d3708d)
 
 
Scientific Accuracy Down to the Smallest Detail
 
The accurate features of Lego DNA 2.0 include:
·      Double helix with bases on the inside, connected to the sugar-phosphate backbone on the outside; each sugar connects to the next through a phosphate molecule
·      Antiparallel strands, flowing in opposite directions, with a distinct 5' and 3' end. There is a free phosphate on the 5’ ends. The direction of the phoshates is also different between strands 1 and 2.
·      Base molecular structure is precise down to each individual atom; Adenine (A) and Thymine (T) connect with each other via 2 Hydrogen Bonds, Guanine (G) and Cytosine (C) connect via 3 Hydrogen Bonds
·      Major and minor grooves, echoing the real DNA's distinct pattern.
·      Turn per base pair = 36°; 1 full rotation = 10 bases
·      The base name letter is written for each base; the sense strand (main coding, “correct” strand) goes from 5’ to 3’, and there are arrows showing the 5’ to 3 direction

The DNA model is not only decorative but also playable. Every 3 DNA bases = 1 codon. In real life, each codon equals 1 amino acid, which are the building blocks of proteins.
There is a genetic code puzzle that builders need to solve! Using the genetic code table (https://biologywarakwarak.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/amino-acid-table-singlet-code.png) and the amino acid acronym table (https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Amino-acid-abbreviations_tbl1_301887506) can you figure out the code? (Hint: in the Genetic code table, replace U with T!)

Lego DNA code: ATG GAC AAG TGA
Amino acid code:   M      ?      ?      ?
 
 
Step into the shoes of the pioneering scientists and relive their journey of unraveling DNA's secrets with the interactive lab.
 
-         Plan your experiments using the King’s College blackboard (on the right side)!
-         Use Signer’s DNA (purest DNA ever!) to get X-ray pictures of DNA using the Unicam camera and the X-ray fiber diffraction camera
-         Use the microcamera to create Photo 51 (Be careful of the hydrogen canister!)
-         Analyze Photo 51 at Wilkins desk using Bragg’s Law (an important formula) and one of his own notes from his own notebook!
-         Write notes about your discoveries on Franklin’s desk (which has a tribute for her achievements in coal and her love of hiking)
-         Go back to the blackboard to review all your data
-         Share your data with your colleagues (ethically and with the permission of the scientist who discovered them!)
-         Review your thoughts on the Cambridge blackboard (on the left side) and at Watson and Crick’s desk and think about how to make your mini model
-         Put together everything you know to make your mini-DNA model, that also rotates!
-         Verify your model by comparing the data with both the mini and large DNA models!
 
(Psst, can you find the Easter Eggs?)
 
70 years after the discovery of the structure of DNA, Lego DNA 2.0 aims to help Lego lovers relive that journey, celebrate science and honor a brilliant scientist. Share the wonder of Lego DNA with friends, family, and fellow enthusiasts so we can all enjoy the detailed DNA model and lab together.

Please support Lego DNA 2.0: Double Helix History so we have a chance at becoming a real Lego set!

Lego DNA 2.0 Trailer:


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