Teenager builds DNA testing machine in his house

Fred and Gus Turner may be brothers, but they look like anything but. Seventeen-year-old Fred has straight brown hair while his 14-year-old brother Gus boasts a wealth of curly red hair. Unsurprisingly, this brought an onslaught of teenage jokes accusing them of having different fathers. So Fred did what any kid would do: he built a DNA testing machine.

Using bits and pieces from various household devices, such as a video player, Fred built a polymerase chain reaction machine. The machine essentially can magnify DNA strands for lab analysis. His goal was to prove that Gus had the genetic mutation causing red hair.

And that’s exactly what he did. He took a swab of cells from inside Gus’ cheek, released the DNA from them. Then, he added the DNA to an enzyme and tossed it into his homemade machine for a good two hours. After which, he sent the sample to a lab, where it was discovered that his brother does have the ginger mutation.

Not only does Fred now have an answer to the teasing that made him build the machine in the first place, he’s also been named the U.K.’s Young Engineer of the Year and has earned a place at Oxford to study biochemistry.

Not bad for a 17-year-old. Take a look at a short interview with him, below.

National Science and Engineering Competition, via Daily Mail

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