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DNA Day 2018: Celebrate 15 Ways Genomics Now Influences Our Lives

Girl Celebrating DNA DayThe year 2018 is a special year for genomics.

On April 25th - National DNA Day - the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project. To commemorate this milestone and the genomic advances that have been made since 2003, NHGRI is launching the '15 for 15' Celebration.

This celebration centers around 15 topics that illustrate the genomic developments made since the end of the Human Genome Project and the importance of genomics in people's lives. Starting on April 5th and each business day leading up to National DNA Day, NHGRI will reveal one of these selected topics.

"This celebration illustrates how far we have come since the end of the Human Genome Project and provides a glimpse into the future as genomics becomes increasingly relevant to people's lives," said Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., NHGRI director. "It provides an opportunity to encourage students, teachers and the public to learn more about genomics."

National DNA Day, commemorates the successful completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of DNA's double-helical structure in 1953. NHGRI, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), began celebrating this day annually in 2003, when the 108th Congress passed concurrent resolutions designating April 25th as "National DNA Day."

To increase awareness and engagement in genomics, NHGRI partnered with education and scientific professionals and institutions nationwide to create the '15 for 15' Celebration content. Images, stories and resources to help anyone learn about the 15 topics and how genomics relates to them personally will be revealed on the National DNA Day website, in the National DNA Day newsletter and on social media (#DNADay18, #15for15) each weekday, beginning April 5th,  to National DNA Day on Apri 25th. These resources can also be used by organizations who want to support their own National DNA Day events centered around this 15th anniversary.

"The '15 for 15' Celebration is an opportunity to enhance genomic literacy for K-16 teachers and students, healthcare providers, members of various communities, patients and the public," said Carla Easter, Ph.D., NHGRI Education and Community Involvement Branch (ECIB) chief. "With the coming rush of genomic information, we want everyone to have access to resources and information to help them make informed choices regarding their health, and the '15 for 15' Celebration helps us achieve that."

PSA Courtesy of NBC4 Washington

Ways to Participate in National DNA Day

In addition to creating the '15 for 15' Celebration and additional events listed below, NHGRI continues to champion genomic literacy by providing resources for museums, schools, community-based organizations and institutions around the country - a National DNA Day Starter Kit - to host their own events. 

The National DNA Day Starter Kit includes:

  •  Logos, print materials and press assets
  •  A curated set of activity ideas
  • The National DNA Day event map
    • This interactive map lists events across the country, such as Michigan DNA Day and the University of California at Santa Cruz, which will feature the extraction of DNA from strawberries.

Reddit "Ask Me Anything" Series

NHGRI will launch a series of Reddit "Ask me Anything" (AMA) discussions every weekday, starting Friday, April 20th, through Friday, April 27th, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern. A Reddit AMA is an opportunity to ask interesting individuals questions about anything and everything. NIH's director, Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., will kick things off by sharing his experiences during the Human Genome Project and his vision for the future of precision medicine.

Additionally, the following AMAs are scheduled:

  • Monday, April 23rd, 2018, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Eastern: Personal genetics and you with direct-to-consumer companies
  • Tuesday, April 24th, 2018, from 1p.m. - 3p.m. Eastern: TBD (Ancient DNA and conservation genetics)
  • Wednesday, April 25th, 2018, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Eastern: Ask a genetic counselor with the National Society of Genetic Counselors
  • Thursday, April 26th, 2018, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Eastern: The Human Cell Atlas with Aviv Regev, Ph.D.
  • Friday, April 27th, 2018, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Eastern: The wonderful world of microbes with the Rob Dunn Lab

National DNA Day Speaker Series

DNAsimple CEO, Olivier Noel, Ph.D., a former participant on ABC's Shark Tank, will join us for a presentation and moderated discussion on entrepreneurship and startups in science titled, "Bench to Bedside to Business: A Discussion on Startups in Science." This discussion will be live-streamed on Facebook on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, or in-person on NIH's main campus in the Lister Hill Auditorium (Bldg. 38A). To view the discussion and submit a question, visit the National DNA Day Facebook Page.

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Hot Topic

Join us for an informal discussion with Lita M. Proctor, Ph.D., program director in NHGRI's Division of Genome Sciences, about the lessons learned from microbiome research.  Dr. Proctor's discussion topic is "Your Microbiome is a Part of this Microbial Planet." This Human Origins Today (HOT) topic event takes place Friday, April 27th, 2018, from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Eastern at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the One Species, Living Worldwide Theater. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the Celebrate with NHGRI webpage for details regarding these events and more.

Posted: April 4, 2018