LYSC Summer Schools: A question of taste (age 16–18)

10.00am to 4.00pm, Monday 12 August

L'Oréal Young Scientist Centre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • A student analysing DNA to investigate the evolution of taste.

    Credit: Royal Institution
  • Type

    Summer Schools
  • Audience

    Age 16–18


Standard £50

Ri Young Members £42.50

Event description

In this genetics workshop, students will extract and test their own DNA using modern molecular biological techniques to compare their phenotype with their genotype.

The workshop, developed with the Wellcome Trust to mark Darwin's 200th birthday, demonstrates how we as a species have evolved to lose the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a chemical found in vegetables such as broccoli.

Research has found that chimpanzees have also lost the ability to taste PTC too and, until recently, it was believed to have been an inherited trait from a common ancestor. However, we have since discovered that it has done so by convergent evolution due to the location of this mutation.

The students will perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction digests and gel electrophoresis in the analysis of their DNA.

Please note

This workshop is strictly for 16–18 year-olds only. Please note this workshop will include a 40 minute unsupervised lunch break. Students are asked to bring their own lunch and drink.

Discounted tickets are available to Ri Members. Find out more about how to join.

Refunds can only be issued for tickets cancelled at least two weeks (14 calendar days) in advance of the event date. Please note that this supersedes our normal event terms and conditions.

Financial assistance

The Potential Trust may be able to offer financial assistance to enable children to participate in Ri events and activities if this would otherwise be difficult. Please contact Anna Comino-James preferably via telephone on +44 (0)1844 351666, or at their email address

Ri Young Members receive 15% off workshops

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