News and events archive 2004 - 2013


Board game explains DNA mutation to students.

Game developed using funding from the European Commission to enhance public engagement with EU-funded research.

14 May 2010

A board game which explains the principles of DNA mutation has been developed by GENIE, the University of Leicester’s Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Genetics in collaboration with colleagues in Waterford, Ireland and at Nottingham Trent University.

Often misrepresented in the popular media, and hence misunderstood by many people, mutation is a naturally occurring biological process which can have positive or negative effects. ‘The Mutation Game’ is based around a simple board, a number of straightforward rules and two sets of cards: ‘mutations’ and ‘events’. By changing the cards, the game can be adapted for different audiences and can address different aspects of mutation such as evolution and disease.

The initial version of the game was launched at a National Science and Engineering Week event at Leicester High School for Girls in April 2010, where 71 students aged 12-14 explored evolution on an alien planet. Using feedback from this event, the game has been slightly modified and is now being rolled out across a number of secondary schools in the UK and Ireland. A second version, based on ‘mutation and disease’ aimed at A-level students, will be launched in November 2010 as part of Irish Science Week.

The game has been developed using funding from 2WAYS which is an EU-funded project which is in turn part of NOTE, an international scheme to educate the public about the non-targeted effects of ionising radiation.

The game has also been showcased at the 10th annual conference of EUSCEA, the European Science Events Association, in Berlin.

For more information about the Mutation Game, please contact the GENIE Outreach and Public Engagement Coordinator, Dr Cas Kramer (

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