for the budding mad scientist

Boy, do I wish these kinds of “toys” had been around when I was a kid; I may end up asking for them for Christmas anyway. The Discovery Channel store is selling:

1. The Discovery DNA Explorer Kit. The kit, which retails for about $80, includes a centrifuge, an electophoresis chamber, and coupons for two free DNA samples.

Explore one of the newest frontiers in science – DNA mapping. From science labs to courtrooms, few discoveries are as exciting as the world of DNA. With this deluxe, first-of-its-kind kit, you can extract, view and map real DNA yourself. Ideal for budding forensic-scientists or secret agents, the working lab and tools are just like the real thing. Plus, you’ll have all the supplies needed for six fascinating DNA experiments. Extract DNA from vegetables, find out what actually makes ink colors and even grow crystal stalagmites!

2. The Discovery Whodunit? Forensics Lab, also retailing for about $80. Among other items, this kit includes a 200x microscope, a light table and a blood analysis tray.

Learn how to use science to fight crime! With advances in forensic science, more and more crime work is being solved in the lab. Now you can introduce your child to a fun and fascinating side of science, with this complete at-home forensic lab. You’ll face six tough cases – each harder than the last. Use the state-of-the-art lab instruments to analyze handwriting, decipher blood type and examine mysterious fibers in your search for answers.