Every year in April, DNA Day aims to enlighten people about important scientific advances in genomic research and explore how those advances might impact their lives.
This special day proclaims the discovery of the DNA double helix in April 1953 and the successful completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003.
It is also the day when students, teachers, and the public commemorate these great achievements and do fun activities to learn more about genetics and genomics.
This year DNA Day is celebrated today.
“Our goal for National DNA Day is to educate everyday people on the importance of genomics so they can make more informed decisions about their health care and even potential careers”
(Carla Easter, PhD, Education and Community Involvement Branch, chief at NHGRI)
Once again, this year the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) will be sponsoring a DNA contest in European high schools in partnership with the American Society of Human Genetics. The essay contest is proposed as a learning tool and means to promote knowledge of genetics within Europe. It intends to challenge students to examine, question and reflect on the importance and social implications of genetic research and its applications.
Annual World DNA Day and Genome Day are committed to the promotion of cutting-edge progress to integrate research and its translation into clinical benefits in all areas of human genetics, as well as helping society take full advantage of the genetic breakthroughs.
Genoma joins the ESHG to celebrate the DNA Day and remains committed to “offer to society the most sophisticated, safe and accurate genetic tests for patients and doctors peace of mind, at an affordable price”
Frederic Amar, CEO Esperite
The history of DNA discovery
Back in April 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick, two molecular biologists, published a paper in the scientific journal Nature describing the structure of DNA and thereby opening the doors to the world of modern genetics. With help of other scientists, they were the first to describe DNA as a double helix and demonstrate that the double stranded molecule could produce exact copies of itself and carry genetic instructions.
The first photographic evidence of this shape was obtained in 1952 when scientist Rosalind Franklin used a process called X-ray diffraction to capture images of DNA molecules. Photograph 51 enabled the precise calculation of molecular distances within the double helix and proved crucial in this breakthrough.
The discovery of DNA twisted ladder structure marked a milestone in science and gave rise to modern molecular biology which is largely concerned with understanding how genes control the chemical process within cells.
Indeed, major current advances in genetics have their origins in Watson and Crick’s work.
For this fundamental finding, the two scientists and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962.
The Human Genome Project is also a great achievement of exploration in history and an inward voyage of discovery. Completed in April 2003, this international project has mapped and sequenced the entire human genome. For the first time, we have been able to read nature’s complete genetic blueprint for building a human being.
The purpose was to provide researchers with powerful tools to understand the genetic factors in human health and disease.
As a result, all data generated by the Human Genome Project has accelerated the pace of medical discovery around the globe and has influenced an entirely new approach to conduct biological research.