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See 10 amazing science projects in action - including the fight to save 'Paddington Bear'

PUBLISHED: 18:00 26 April 2019

The Earlham Institute,  Norwich Research Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Earlham Institute, Norwich Research Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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From fighting famine, illness and aging to discovering the history of DNA - your chance to find out what's happening at the Earlham Institute on Norwich Research Park.

Norfolk scientists working on projects which might one day save the world from starvation, disease and climate change will be explaining their work at a free open day.

Researchers at the Earlham Institute decode the genomes of plants and animals. Their discoveries are already helping projects aimed at preventing famine and epidemics, saving threatened species, improving food security, tackling climate change and understanding the whole of life on earth.

A free open day on Tuesday, May 21, includes talks, lab tours and the chance to discover more from the scientists.

Find out about:

1. One of the biggest computers in Europe, crunching through the DNA of everything from wheat to koalas with chlamydia.

2. Saving Paddington Bear. Paddington was an Andean, or spectacled, bear – a species threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Norwich scientists are part of a project to preserve South America's only species of bear.

3. Weird sex and controlling behaviours in bacteria. Salmonella bacteria have a tube which can transfer genetic material between themselves, and even between species, rather than simply to offspring. Research into how salmonella spreads and takes control of guts to cause illness is unlocking ways of combating antibiotic resistance

4. The history of DNA from tiny viruses to all of life on earth.

5. How the Earlham Institute is part of the ultimate DNA sequencing project, aiming to sequence the genomes of all 1.5 million known species of animals, plants, protozoa and fungi on Earth. Samples of DNA are processed through machines which convert biological material into strings of billions of letters. These are stored, investigated and interpreted using the specially-built supercomputer.

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6. Wheat. Its genome is more than 30 billion letters long. Read aloud, letter by letter, 24/7, it would take more than 500 years to finish. Understanding which parts of it are responsible for traits such as yield, and pest, drought or disease resistance, will help feed the world.

7. Ash dieback. The genome of the fungus causing the disease was sequenced in Norwich and researchers are investigating how to fight its effects.

8. How algae collected on an Antarctic cruise is part of the fight against climate change.

9. The sights and sounds of the Colombian rainforest - the second most bio-diverse place on earth. Norfolk scientists are working with local tribes, ex-fighters and politicians to preserve species - and peace.

10. Why live yoghurt is good for you.

11. Manufacturing the sex-pheromones of insects as a way of controlling pests without conventional pesticides.

Inside EI is a free open day on Tuesday, May 21. A session for schools runs from 9.30am to 12.45pm, and the public session is from 1.45-5pm. Register by Monday, May 13 at www.earlham.ac.uk

www.earlham.ac.uk

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