Category Archives: Update

⭐ Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life Progress Report March to July 2021

Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life runs from March 2021 to July 2022. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, grant reference 206194/Z/17/Z and 218328/Z/19/Z.

This report will detail progress of the Zone from 15 March 2021 to 14 July 2021.

The activity features 35 people working on the Darwin Tree of Life Project.

Download the Zone Report (pdf) ❯

Scientists

35 scientists and researchers created profiles in the Zone. See who is taking part ❯

The winner of the Summer Term was Code Crackers.
🏆 The Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life trophy is on its way to the team! 🏆

Students

291 students from 14 schools logged into the Zone.

87% of active students were from target schools: 29% from widening participation schools and 62% from underserved schools.

Live chats

32 live chats took place. 13 were booked by teachers and 19 were additional chats, open to all students.

On average, 4 scientists attended each live chat.

With over 100 signed-up teachers, we’re looking forward to lots of school engagement throughout the new academic year.

Posted on September 22, 2021 modalex in Evaluation, Update | Leave a comment

🧬 That’s a wrap! Catch up on the full series of Genomics Lite webinars

That’s it for the Genomics Lite: Biodiversity & Evolution sessions!

This June and July, Genomics Lite and the people involved in the Darwin Tree of Life project have given us all a great insight into genomics, biodiversity, and evolution.

Throughout the series, the teams have:

  1. Looked at how genomics can aid our understanding of biodiversity and evolution.
  2. Discussed and compared methods and challenges in sequencing the genomes of old and new samples.
  3. Examined how humans have affected the evolution of malaria and mosquitos.
  4. Explored different careers and routes into the biodiversity and evolution fields.

Even though the series has finished, you can continue learning with the Genomic Lite resources:

Students! If you have attended two or more Genomics Lite: Biodiversity & Evolution webinars you’re eligible for a certificate of attendance – any student that is eligible and has not yet received theirs can email education@wellcomeconnectingscience.org.

Missed the final session? View Session 4 below, or you can catch up on the whole Genomic Lite: Biodiversity & Evolution series. View the YouTube playlist ❯

Posted on July 19, 2021 modalex in Update | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watch Perfect Protists and Team Marine on Genomics Lite

Ever wondered how scientists end up doing what they do? 🤔

This Thursday’s Genomics Lite webinar is all about careers. Learn more about careers and routes into the biodiversity and evolution fields, and put your questions to people who’ve been in your shoes.

Session 4 will take place on Thursday 8 July, from 4.30pm to 5.30pm. Register now ❯

Joanna Harley, from Team Marine, is one of the scientists taking part in Session 4

You might spot some familiar faces from Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life in Session 4: Joanna Harley from Team Marine, and Jamie McGowan from the Perfect Protists, will both be taking part!

Genomics Lite is a programme of live webinars exploring a different field in biology, and how genomics research contributes to understanding in the field.

In this Biodiversity & Evolution series, you can hear from researchers at the cutting-edge of biodiversity and evolution, and put your questions to the scientists. Each week different researchers explore how genomics can aid our understanding of biodiversity and evolution, how it can help with conservation efforts, and the impact of human activity on biodiversity and evolution.

You can now catch up on Session 3 with Petra Korlevic exploring the fascinating history of malaria, and how humans have affected the evolution of malaria and mosquitoes. Take a look:

Posted on July 6, 2021 modjosie in Update | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to get quizzical…

It’s that time again! We have a brand new set of quiz questions for you.

Our quiz is updated each half-term. The student who gets the most correct answers is in with a chance to win a £10 voucher.

The winner of our last quiz was… (drumroll please…)

Amy
from
The Arnewood School
🥳

Your turn – take part in this half term’s quiz for your chance to win ❯


Top tips for finding quiz answers:

    1. Take a look around the Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life! All of the answers are around for you to find.
    2. Complete the first activity. If you haven’t done it yet, now is definitely the time – plus, it’s a great way to hone those researching and essay-writing skills. Go to the activity
    3. Meet the teams. Ask them questions, read their profiles, and check out their updates! View teams ❯
    4. Check out the updates. In recent updates, we shared a podcast featuring Darwin Tree of Life Programme Lead Professor Mark Blaxter, and the Genome Generators’ Dr. Michelle Strickland on the Genomics Lite webinar! You can read all the updates from your dashboard ❯

Ready? Go to the quiz ❯


Good luck!


Posted on June 30, 2021 modalex in Update | Leave a comment

🌳 Get the most out of Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life

Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life connects you with the experts sequencing the genomes of every living thing in Britain and Ireland. You can take part from today until July 2022.

There are lots of ways to take part

Chat with the experts! Every week you can Chat with experts working on the Darwin Tree of Life project. Join the Wednesday Chats at 4pm here.

Meet the teams ❯ Read about the people working on the Darwin Tree of Life Project, from institutions like the Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh, and the Natural History Museum.

Get updates about your favourite species straight to your Dashboard. Just click ‘edit your profile’ and select the species you’re interested in. Check out updates ❯

Ask questions. You can send questions to the experts whenever you like! Ask your questions ❯

Vote for your favourite expert to win points for their team! Cast your vote ❯

Complete the independent activity. Investigate how modern science is conducted using the Darwin Tree of Life as an example. Have a go ❯

Take part in a quiz. Every half-term, you are invited to take part in a quiz about the Darwin Tree of Life project! Students with the highest score get entered into a prize draw to win a WHSmith voucher. Ready? Go to the Quiz ❯

Buy a frame! Download your personal Certificate of Participation straight from your Dashboard.

Posted on June 18, 2021 modalex in Update | Leave a comment

Sequencing the Biome of Great Britain: Listen to the podcast

How will the Darwin Tree of Life benefit the public? What are the biggest challenges the project has faced? And how much DNA can you really get from a protist?

The University of Edinburgh’s BioPOD, a podcast by the School of Biological Sciences, chose to interview Professor Mark Blaxter and Dr Alex Twyford about the Darwin Tree of Life project in May 2021.

Professor Mark Blaxter is Programme Lead for Tree of Life Programme, and Dr Alex Twyford is an evolutionary biologist working at the University of Edinburgh who is interested in speciation and adaptation in flowering plants. They are both heavily involved in the Darwin Tree of Life project.

Professor Blaxter and Dr Twyford discuss the benefits of the project, and how “sequencing life for the future of life” can improve our understanding of genomes, and global conservation efforts.

They also touch on the potential resources hidden within genomes, such as spider’s silk: if we could recreate the unique chemistry that makes spider silk extremely strong and sticky, what uses could that information have in our daily lives?

You can also hear them discuss the benefits of keeping the data open and available online.

You can listen to the full interview (59 minutes) now.

Listen to the podcast now ❯

Posted on June 10, 2021 modjosie in Update | Tagged | Leave a comment

Quizzers, challenge yourself with a new set of questions!

As you might already know, we’ve introduced a brand new quiz to Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life.

Every half term, we update it with new questions. The student who gets the most correct answers is in with a chance to win a £10 voucher.

Last week’s winner was… (drumroll please…)

Alessandra
from
Hills Road Sixth Form College
🥳

Your turn – take part in this week’s quiz for your chance to win ❯


Top tips for finding quiz answers:

    1. Take a look around the Schools @ Darwin Tree of Life! All of the answers are around for you to find.
    2. Complete the first activity. If you haven’t done it yet, now is definitely the time – plus, it’s a great way to hone those researching and essay-writing skills. Go to the activity
    3. Meet the teams. Ask them questions, read their profiles, and check out their updates! View teams ❯
    4. Check out the updates. In recent updates, we shared an interview with Dr Sally Warring from the Perfect Protists team, and the successful full genome sequencing of 3 bumblebee species! You can read all the updates from your dashboard ❯

Ready? Go to the quiz ❯


Good luck!


Posted on May 28, 2021 modjosie in Update | Leave a comment

Finding life in every drop of water

“If we really want to understand life, and the way that we function, we need to understand how protists fit into our lives and fit into evolution.”
– Dr Sally Warring

Dr Sally Warring, a member of the Perfect Protists team, recently appeared in a video by BBC Earth talking about her work, and the Darwin Tree of Life project.

View Dr Sally Warring’s appearance on BBC Earth:


Photo:Sally
Ask Sally Warring a question

Posted on April 8, 2021 modjosie in Update | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Weird and Wonderful World of Protists: an interview with Sally Warring

“I think it’s a good thing to have people more aware of microorganisms. And also they’re really cool.” – Dr Sally Warring

Dr Sally Warring is a protistologist working on the Darwin Tree of Life project as part of the Perfect Protists team.

Sally has taken part in some exciting public engagement projects, including running the Instagram account Pondlife_Pondlife, and a YouTube series which was ‘a safari to explore the microbial wildernesses all around us’ with the American Museum of Natural History. See her at work here:

In a blog post from the Earlham Institute, Sally explains how studying protists could make us rethink what we know about biology, genetics, and the complexities of life on Earth.

Read the full article ❯

Photo:Sally
Ask Sally Warring a question

 


 

Posted on March 30, 2021 modjosie in Update | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Successful full genome sequencing of three bumblebee species

Bombus campestris – The field cuckoo bee

Bombus campestris – The field cuckoo bee

The Darwin Tree of Life team are delighted to announce the release of three complete bumblebee genomes this week. These high-quality, chromosomally complete reference genomes have been produced from specimens from Wytham Woods, near Oxford.

Dr Liam Crowley, a postdoctoral field biologist at the University of Oxford who is a member of the Woodland Wonders team, writes about the importance of sequencing the genomes of bumblebees, and which species were sequenced.

You can also view the public genome data yourself!

Read the full article ❯

Photo:
Ask Liam Crowley a question

 


Posted on March 26, 2021 modjosie in Update | Tagged , , | Leave a comment