With his short, brown hair, Fred Turner doesn’t look anything like his younger brother Gus, whose loud red curls are difficult to miss. Fred, who had always expressed an interest in science, decided to get to the bottom of their differing appearances by building a DNA testing machine in his bedroom.
“After years of jokes from my friends saying me and Gus have different dads, I built the machine to test once and for all why my brother is ginger and I’m not,” the UK teen told The Daily Mail.
The 17-year-old built his own polymerase chain reaction machine with items he found at home, and used the machine to compare how his and his brother’s DNA reacted under different temperatures. After collecting DNA from Gus’s cheek using a swab, Fred was able to determine that his brother has a mutated gene that causes red hair.
“I’ve always been interested in science ever since I was a little kid,” Fred told itv.com.
Not only was Fred’s experiment a success in proving why his brother has red hair (even though Fred doesn’t), but he also won the UK’s Young Engineer of the Year Award for his machine. The young scientist will continue to hone his talents at Oxford University in the fall, where he’ll study biochemistry.
Fred isn’t the only teen who had the creative idea to turn his own bedroom into a science lab. Just last week it was reported that 17-year-old Sara Volz used the space under her bed to create an algae biofuel lab, which led to a groundbreaking discovery and a $100,000 scholarship.
The teen won the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search for discovering that natural oils produced by algae can be converted into biofuels, which can then be used in diesel engines.
“It’s great because it means you’re not relying on petroleum-based fuels. You’re not relying on fossil fuels,” Volz told ABC News.
Jack Andraka is another teen scientist who is doing amazing work in the world. This 15-year-old’s innovative research on pancreatic cancer earned him first place in the 2012 Intel Science Competition. Andraka created a test for pancreatic cancer that is 28 times cheaper and faster — as well as 100 times more sensitive — than the tests that already exist.
Watch the video at huffingtonpost,com to see how Fred transformed his bedroom into a lab, or head over to The Daily Mail to read the full story.