This exhibit of the double helix allows visitors a greater sense of what researchers Dr. Francis Crick and Dr. James Watson were faced with when describing the mechanisms of the “sub-particles” of the gene and its “code.” Photo by Clarence Giles, Monitor Staff.
Lynx Exhibits museum helps visitors crack the DNA code
El Paso’s Lynx Exhibits facility features traveling displays based on scientific principles that educate and amaze visitors.
The current exhibit, “Cracking the Code: Human DNA,” which runs through Jan. 2, offers five major sections to visitors for entertainment and education.
There is an introductory module that presents “The Secret of You,” and details genetic development of the human embryo, emphasizing gene development. Section two offers “The Secret of Life,” an exhibit defining genes and their functions. This section of the display also stages a large, “touchable” model of the double helix for visitors.
The expansive display guides visitors to various features and also prompts questions and provides answers, such as: What is DNA and where are genes located in animals and plants?
In the Discovery area of the exhibit, which includes sections three and four, visitors are treated to a timeline mural of research pioneers, such as Dr. Francis Crick and Dr. James Watson, co-discoverers of the double helix, which led to their 1962 co-award of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. The display reveals that some illnesses are genetically related.
The exhibit explains how DNA has become a useful tool for the medical community. This portion of the exhibit also tells how law enforcement agencies now use DNA as a tool of evidence when collected at crimes scenes.
Led by Ana Coleman, child care director at the ASYMCA CDC program, encourages the children to “bounce” to the music. Photo by Clarence Giles, Monitor Staff.
Visitors also learn that under our skin we all look 99 percent alike.
Laurie Paternoster, a partner, along with her husband, said Lynx Exhibits was patterned after a similar museum in St. Louis.
“We wanted an experience where a grandparent could bring a toddler and still be interested in what’s going on – something for everyone at the same time,” she said. “So, with every exhibit we bring in, we augment.”
Events are planned a year in advance. The coming spring exhibit is called “Treasure.”
Paternoster said, “We think it will be a lot of fun because it’ll look at all kinds of treasure, ranging from the kinds in your attic to those in the ocean.”