Skip to main content

England's Most Gifted Children Celebrate DNA 50th Anniversary by Massive "Cloning" Exercise

Originally Published 23 January 2003

Some of England's most gifted children are gathering in London, on Saturday 25th January 2003, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA that helps make those young people so special. They be celebrating the work of DNA research pioneers Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, in the building which now bears their name. They will also use this DNA day to virtually clone themselves by launching a search to find even more of England's gifted children in order to more than quintuple the Academy's numbers from the roughly 900 allowed to take part in the Academy's pilot year to over 5000.

The thirty young people will spend an intensive 'DNA day' in King's College London's The Franklin Wilkins Building. In the company of Dr George Forster and Dr Charlotte Parker, they will be exploring everything from DNA finger printing to cloning as well as the ethics of how tests for genetic predisposition?s to illness may be used.

While the young people will not be undertaking any actual human cloning - they will be using the event to massively replicate their numbers. The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth has had a highly successful pilot year. It has already had its first summer school and staged a number of one-day events. The DNA celebration event marks the launch of 'Loc8or' a programme designed to make thousands more teachers and families aware of the National Academy and what it can do for talented and gifted young people.

Members of the Academy will benefit from a range of activities including a full programme of day events (taking place on Saturdays and during school holidays) in venues across England covering areas such as Supporting Human Life on Mars, Forensic Science - Who killed Cock Robin?, Conflict Resolution, Russian, Japanese, Creative Writing, Geography and Geology; online support, and the residential summer schools.

School Standards Minister David Miliband said: "The Academy provides a range of exciting opportunities for our brightest pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It supports schools striving to match the needs of their most able, and is fundamental to our work enabling all pupils to reach their full potential."

"We know that there is a lot of exceptional talent in our classrooms, and we need parents and teachers to tell us about it to make sure that all gifted youngsters can benefit from the Academy's work."

More details on the National Academy, which has its Head Quarters at the University of Warwick and was commissioned by the Department for Education Skills, can be found at

Interview and picture opportunity: Their will be an opportunity to interview and photograph some of the children with DNA models etc at 12 midday in Room G80 The Franklin Wilkins Building, Stamford Street, London. The nearest parking is the NCP carpark in Cornwall Road (Cornwall Road is right next to the Franklin Wilkins Building). On arrival at the room please ask for Fiona Champness.

For further details contact:

Fiona Champness, Academy Press Officer
Tel:024 7657 4308 / 07876 217745