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 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 contained 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 further study 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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