Paper Plane Proteins: Modelling Types of Genetic Mutations – Hands on Activity

Cancer is caused by genetic changes in our DNA. Whether it is DNA damage caused by UV rays, or an unlucky spelling mistake in our genes that we are born with, or have picked up over time. 

This workshop aims to provide you with an understanding of what DNA is, its role in coding for genes and the impact that DNA changes have on proteins and therefore human disease, such as cancer. 

Originally developed with high school students in mind, the content of the workshop should be complementary to a biology GCSE syllabus. 

After an introduction to DNA, mutations and proteinsyou are invited to make paper plane models alongside the demonstration. Each model has a slightly different set of instructions which represent a different type of genetic mutation that might occur in our genes. By comparing the plane models we can observe how changing building instructions can change their function. 

This workshop can be done at home, or facilitated in a classroom.  

The only equipment required is paper and a pen. 

This workshop was originally developed by Katie Sadler in association with the Widening Participation Team at the University of Manchester and is shared with their consent. ~