National DNA Day: News and Features

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Chatting about National DNA Day 2011

DNA Day April 15 2011If you work in the field of genomics, National DNA Day is one of the most wonderful days of the year. This year, the National Human Genome Research Institute will celebrate the ninth annual National DNA Day on April 15, 2011, and hold its live, National DNA Day Online Chatroom, which brings together, scientists, clinical researchers and other experts in the field with students, teachers and the public to answer questions about genetics, genomics and the work they do.

National DNA Day is usually observed on April 25, but this year NHGRI is holding most of its activities on Friday, April 15 to accommodate classroom schedules. To keep up with the latest information and educational resources related to National DNA Day, check out NHGRI's National DNA Day web pages at www.genome.gov/DNADay, and the social networking sites Facebook [facebook.com] and Twitter [twitter.com].

Established by Congress eight years ago, National DNA Day commemorates the successful completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix by Watson and Crick in 1953. But National DNA Day is much more than a time to honor historical achievements. It's also a day filled with opportunities for students, teachers and the public to learn about the exciting field of genome research and how it will soon touch all of our lives.

"We encourage anyone, especially students, to take advantage of this unique opportunity to interact with our genetic and genome professionals to ask questions about science, health and the societal implications of genomics research," said Carla Easter, Ph.D., a science education specialist in NHGRI's Education and Community Involvement Branch, which guides NHGRI's National DNA Day outreach and partnership efforts. "Our hope is that having access to our experts will encourage students to pursue the many careers related to this still burgeoning field of science."

Each year, NHGRI supports a diverse number of activities to foster interactions between genome researchers and the public. For instance, NHGRI researchers, called DNA Day Ambassadors, are visiting many high schools throughout the D.C. metropolitan area during April to give presentations and field questions from students.

No matter where they live, students and teachers can participate in National DNA Day through a live, moderated online chat with NHGRI researchers, which will be open for questions Friday, April 15, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern. NHGRI experts will be available to answer questions on a wide range of topics, including basic science, clinical research, genomics careers and the ethical, legal and social implications of genome research. For those unable to participate in the live event, a transcript of the chat will be available at National DNA Day Online Chatroom.

NHGRI's website offers a number of free, educational tools on genetics and genomics, including webcasts, podcasts, an online multimedia education kit called Understanding The Human Genome Project and the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms. They are available in the Education section of the website, www.genome.gov/Education and at National DNA Day.

Students and teachers can also check out NHGRI's Genomics Careers Resource. The careers' resource showcases nearly 50 career opportunities through video interviews, career profiles, tools to rate potential career choices and an interactive game.

NHGRI's partners for National DNA Day 2011 include: The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) [ashg.org], The Genetic Alliance [geneticalliance.org], American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) [acmg.net], The International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG) [isong.org] and The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) [nsgc.org].

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Last Reviewed: November 8, 2012