National Institutes of Health celebrates DNA’s double anniversary
National DNA Day commemorates Human Genome Project’s completion and discovery of DNA’s double-helical structure.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project and the 70th anniversary of the discovery of DNA’s double-helical structure, milestones being celebrated as part of National DNA Day. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, began celebrating this day annually on April 25, 2003, after the 108th Congress passed a resolution designating it as National DNA Day.
Because of the special nature of 2023’s National DNA Day, NHGRI is hosting a symposium as part of a nationwide celebration that aims to educate people about scientific advances in genomics and their relevance in people’s lives.
“As we reflect back on this milestone, let us resolve to use all means possible to bring the promise of the genomic revolution to those billions of people in the world who are still waiting and hoping for its benefits to reach them,” said Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator in NHGRI’s Intramural Research Program and presenter of the 2023 Louise M. Slaughter National DNA Day Lecture. “My dream is to see these advances in understanding the genome translated into better methods of prevention, treatment and cure of disease for all.”
Joining Dr. Collins in the symposium is NHGRI Director Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D.; Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., CEO of the All of Us Research Program; Gary Gibbons, M.D., Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and Joni Rutter, Ph.D., Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Services.
As we reflect back on this milestone, let us resolve to use all means possible to bring the promise of the genomic revolution to those billions of people in the world who are still waiting and hoping for its benefits to reach them. My dream is to see these advances in understanding the genome translated into better methods of prevention, treatment and cure of disease for all.
A featured element of the symposium will be a discussion on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report about the use of race, ethnicity, and ancestry in biomedical and genomics research. Panelists will discuss the benefits and challenges in the use of race and ethnicity and other population descriptors in genomics research. NHGRI Acting Deputy Director Vence Bonham, Jr., J.D., will underscore the importance of safeguarding scientific integrity in genomics and improving conscientious design of research studies so that all populations benefit from scientific advances.
Howard County Public School System students from Lime Kiln Middle School in Fulton, Maryland, will be recognized for advancing to the state level in the 2023 National History Day competition. The students will receive an inaugural NHGRI Genomics Ambassador Award for their National History Day display about the Human Genome Project.
“At NHGRI, we believe sparking genomic curiosity at an early age is a critical first step in achieving the promise of genomics and growing and diversifying our workforce,” said Dr. Green. “The students from Lime Kiln represent the next generation of genomic professionals who will help transform the field of genomics and charter one of humankind’s newest frontiers.”
National DNA Day activities continue throughout May 2023. Visit genome.gov/DNA-Day for more information.
About NHGRI and NIH
About the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI): At NHGRI, we are focused on advances in genomics research. Building on our leadership role in the initial sequencing of the human genome, we collaborate with the world's scientific and medical communities to enhance genomic technologies that accelerate breakthroughs and improve lives. By empowering and expanding the field of genomics, we can benefit all of humankind. For more information about NHGRI and its programs, visit www.genome.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Phone: (301) 402-0911
Last updated: April 25, 2023