NATIONAL DNA DAY
On April 25th, people across the nation recognize National DNA Day. On this day in 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick formally announced their discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in a short letter published in the science journal, Nature.
Fast forward to 1990, when scientists from around the world came together to begin mapping the human genome. Known as The Human Genome Project, approximately 2000 scientists in six countries set to work mapping the nucleotides in human DNA. In the process, the project learned that humans share genes with other species. Some of the species the project mapped included yeast, mice, and the fruit fly – all species commonly studied in science already.
The genome is our map of life. ~ President William Clinton
On June 26, 2000, the first draft of the human genome was released. By April of 2003, the project released its finished human genome. The mapping of the human genome has transformed medicine and research. The ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) Project launched soon after the human genome was sequenced to study further and catalog data related to the human genome. Research including the study of different cancers and more advanced diagnostic tests may change medicine forever.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalDNADay
Students, teachers, and the public are encouraged to learn more about genetics and genomics. Read books about DNA and its discovery or watch documentaries.
- The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science that Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes
- The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean
- The Path to the Double Helix; The Discovery of DNA by Robert Olby
- “Decoding Watson – DNA: The Greatest Story Ever Told” (PBS)
- “The Gene” (PBS)
Share your ideas about the day using #NationalDNADay on social media.
NATIONAL DNA DAY HISTORY
In 2003, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives proclaimed April 25th as National DNA Day, as a one-time celebration. Each year after 2003, National DNA Day celebrations have been organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute. Since this time, several groups have also declared April 25th as International DNA Day and World DNA Day.
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April 25th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
U.S. military from the East and Soviet military from the West met on the banks of the Elbe River marking an important turning point of World War II.
The U.S. Patent Office issued patent no. 2,981,877 to Robert N Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor.
In 1957, Noyce and 7 other engineers founded Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. There he developed one of the first integrated circuits. In 1968, he co-founded Intel Corporation and the company released the first microprocessor in 1971.
A Manchester, Maine student, Samantha Smith, receives a reply from Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov. Learn more about Samantha Smith and Andropov’s response here.
NASA astronauts deploy the Hubble Telescope from the space shuttle Discovery.
April 25th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
John Frank Stevens – 1853
The American civil engineer contributed to improved transportation by building the Great Northern Railway and in his role as chief engineer on the Panama Canal.
Guglielmo Marconi – 1892
While many inventors contributed to the success of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi was the first to bring a commercially viable product to market. In 1901, the inventor made history when he broadcast the first radio signal across the Atlantic.
Edward R. Murrow -1908
Noted radio and television news broadcast pioneer, Edward R. Murrow brought the world into people’s living rooms by allowing them to hear the action as it happened. Murrow was respected for his integrity in journalism. The Radio Television Digital News Association has awarded journalists in the field with the Edward R. Murrow Award since 1971.
Ella Fitzgerald – 1917
The ever-elegant “First Lady of Song” and “Queen of Jazz” earned 13 Grammy’s during her 60-year career.
Al Pacino – 1940
The award-winning actor of stage and screen earned critical acclaim in his Tony-winning performance of Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie. Three years later Pacino was nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Godfather.