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Video: Do the DNA dance! Sudbury students take part in Science Odyssey to show you how

R.L. Beattie students connected with Dr. Thomas Merritt, Canada Research Chair for national STEM event
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Do you know how to do the DNA dance? You're actually doing it right now!

In fact, everybody's doing it. In this video, Sudbury students will show you how.
 
Understanding that they themselves are made of DNA, students and teachers at R.L. Beattie Public School worked with Dr. Thomas Merritt, Canada Research Chair in Genomics and Bioinformatics, to create a stunning dance that shows the moves that mitochondrial DNA make in the process of replication.
 
In doing so, the students participated in a ten-day national campaign that celebrates Canadian achievements in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Hundreds of events have been planned all across the country for Science Odyssey 2018 — an initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
  
"Twice a year there is a national outreach event where we talk to groups of people about STEM and the importance of research and sort of fundamental concepts," Merritt said. "But we do it in an engaging way. The neat thing with these kids, is they are now part of that national outreach event; they're part of literally hundreds of events across Canada from last Friday through the end of the week."

Unique music was created to accompany the DNA Dance. Music teacher Colette Nadeau took a really interesting approach to using the base letters 'C', 'G', 'A', and 'T' in the DNA dance composition. "CGAT" refers to Cytosine, Guanine, Adenine and Thymine. Nadeau said that while there is no 't' in sheet music, 'Ti' exists in the "sol-fa scale" — whereby the 'Ti' represents the 'B' note in sheet music. Mindful of how CGAT pairing occurs in DNA, the notes in Nadeau's composition are paired accordingly.

"It's important. It's all about learning, it's inspiring, it's creativity and students just love it," Nadeau said. "They're living it. In creating, the kinesthetic comes in, they get to plan, and you have the differentiated learning."

The DNA dance happens in every single cell in everyone's body. Every cell is replicating information about how to breathe, how to live, how to move, etc. Watch the video and keep and these instructions in mind, if you'd like to learn more.

The steps of the DNA dance are as follows:

First, the rules: Each person represents a base in DNHA. The information in DNA is in the bases in the links in a chain. Each base only pairs up with another specific base: guanine only pairs with cytosine, and adenine only pairs with thymine.
  
1. The dance starts out with a ring of DNA.

One of the neat things about a DNA molecule is that it's actually two strands; so it's a ring inside a ring.

2. This double-ringed circle spreads out to create an entire new set of circles that will be separated.

The way that it replicates (the way it makes a copy of itself) is those two strands separate and then the new strands come in.

3. New strands form.

The old strands are actually what scientists call the template: they're the information for the new strand. If you watch closely in the video you will see that the two strands start there as two concentric circles.

4. The new strands come in as individual bases: those individual links are what forms a chain. 

5. At the end of the dance what is happening is a separation of those two chains.

The two larger chains are exactly the same size.

That's it! Representing Sudbury in one of three events hosted in Nickel City for Space Odyssey, Laurentian University and R.L. Beattie Public School has gifted everyone with the DNA Dance!

Every 'body' is doing it; now we know how.



About the Author: Allana McDougall

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