“The DNA Detectives – To Catch A Thief” – about this book

“The DNA Detectives – To Catch A Thief”

is the first book in the “DNA Detectives” series. The story is based on a famous five style adventure where the characters use DNA to solve a crime. In addition to the exciting storyline readers will learn about DNA, cells and forensic science.

The story starts when Annabelle and Harry’s pet dog Milly goes missing. The children sadly accept that the local pet thief has struck again. They have a list of suspects and evidence left behind by the thief. But how can they find out who it is and get Milly back? The children’s mum is a scientist working with DNA. She has a laboratory in the garden. The children realise they can use DNA and their mum’s laboratory to solve the crime. Annabelle and Harry become “DNA Detectives” and just like real life forensic scientists go on an exciting adventure to try and solve the case. Join them on their thrilling journey to collect clues, learn about DNA, see if they can find out the identity of the pet thief and bring their beloved Milly safely back home.

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“The DNA Detectives – To Catch A Thief” 

“The DNA Detectives – To Catch A Thief” is the first book in the “DNA Detectives” series. The story is based on a famous five style adventure where the characters use DNA to solve a crime. In addition to the exciting storyline readers will learn about DNA, cells and forensic science.

The story starts when Annabelle and Harry’s pet dog Milly goes missing. The children sadly accept that the local pet thief has struck again. They have a list of suspects and evidence left behind by the thief. But how can they find out who it is and get Milly back? The children’s mum is a scientist working with DNA. She has a laboratory in the garden. The children realise they can use DNA and their mum’s laboratory to solve the crime. Annabelle and Harry become “DNA Detectives” and just like real life forensic scientists go on an exciting adventure to try and solve the case. Join them on their thrilling journey to collect clues, learn about DNA, see if they can find out the identity of the pet thief and bring their beloved Milly safely back home.

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Writing the book

“DNA Detectives – To Catch A Thief” is the first book I have ever written but the story has been in my head for a very long time! I have worked with DNA in many different laboratories over the years and I have always loved the idea of having my own laboratory in the garden. I thought it would be fantastic to do experiments with my children and show them all the amazing things you can do with DNA. I then thought it would make a great story if my children (the characters in the story) could use DNA to solve a crime. What would make it even better was if they could use a laboratory just like the one I had always wanted! I came up with the idea of our pet dog Milly being stolen. I thought the evidence the children could collect and then analyse in the laboratory like a real forensic case. I also wanted to write down some of the funny stories about my children so they can be treasured forever. I love the idea that my children can pass this book onto their children and say “Mummy wrote this about us”. Between them my children are such different characters and so easy to write about because I know them so well!

When I was at school English wasn’t my best subject. Even when I did my PhD I would spend a week writing a chapter and think to myself that is the best I can do. My supervisor would read it and then say “I think if you look at this you will see where you have gone wrong”. Obviously I had no idea where I had gone wrong. However, I think the many years of writing patient reports when I worked for the NHS helped me immensely. There could be no ambiguity in the reports and the meaning of the sentences had to be crystal clear. I now think carefully about the order of the words I use in a sentence and exactly what I am trying so say. I also think about when I am describing a scene in the book what I can see, touch, taste, hear and smell. I also try and visit as many locations in the book or from my memories to bring the story alive. I want the reader to have a vibrant picture in their heads as they are reading.

I loved the idea that as well as telling a story I could also use this book to teach children about DNA, cells and forensic science. I regularly run science workshops where I teach children as young as 4 years old about DNA. I knew I could use many of the techniques I use in the workshops in the book to explain the different concepts to children. More importantly I knew they worked! I really hoped that the excitement of this book could help to inspire some future scientists!

How this book links with the National Curriculum

This fictional book for children aged 7-12 years has been designed so that it fits with different aspects of the National programme of study for English and science for KS1 and KS2.

LIVE WORKSHOPs

Discover my live workshop “The DNA Detectives – To Catch A Thief”

ONLINE WORKSHOPS

Video’s, PDF’s and Presentations

Comparing hairs and fibres – forensics part 1

Comparing hairs and fibres – forensics PART 2

Explanation of X and Y Chromosome

CAN YOU MATCH THE DNA TO THE DOG?

CAN YOU MATCH THE DNA TO THE DOG ANSWER?

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 1

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 1 ANSWER

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 2

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 2 ANSWER

RELATIONSHIP TESTING

RESULTS RELATIONSHIP TESTING

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF DNA IS FROM A BOY OR GIRL

WHO STOLE THE SWEET?

Comparing hairs and fibres – forensics part 1

Comparing hairs and fibres – forensics PART 2

Explanation of X and Y Chromosome

CAN YOU MATCH THE DNA TO THE DOG?

CAN YOU MATCH THE DNA TO THE DOG ANSWER?

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 1

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 1 ANSWER

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 2

CRIMINAL SNAP PART 2 ANSWER

RELATIONSHIP TESTING

RESULTS RELATIONSHIP TESTING

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF DNA IS FROM A BOY OR GIRL

WHO STOLE THE SWEET?

WEBLINKS

Web links for “The DNA Detectives – To Catch a Thief”

I have compiled some great web links with the help of the public engagement team at the Sanger Institute to help you learn more about DNA, cells, forensic science and electromagnets.

 

I have divided the web links into the chapters from the book so you can learn about the different subjects as you read the book. There are some great video clips to watch, some fantastic online games to play where you get to be a forensic scientist and analyse the evidence you collect, you can find out how to make a plaster cast of a footprint, go to a virtual online laboratory and extract DNA, find out how to make a DNA bracelet or even try and extract some DNA from fruit at home!

 

You can even print out the DNA evidence Annabelle and Harry look at in the book to see if you can be a DNA Detective and solve the crime!

DNA DETECTIVES - TO CATCH A THIEF WEBLINKS

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