April 25: DNA Day

On April 25, 1953, several scientists published papers in the scientific journal Nature  about the structure of DNA. These papers are generally considered the first to show the correct double helix structure of a strand of DNA.

DNA image credit publicdomainpictures.netThen, exactly fifty years later, on April 25, 2003, researchers with the Human Genome Project announced that the project was (more or less) completed. This map of the human genome is really only about 99% done, but filling in the remaining gaps would take so much time and money and give so little benefit that it’s not generally considered worthwhile.

In 2003, Congress declared a one time DNA Day celebration on April 25, but other groups have continued that celebration every year, sometimes referring to it as National, International, or World DNA Day, depending on the organization (although some have moved the date sometimes). DNA Day is primarily a time to learn about DNA, but the National Human Genome Research Institute gives instructions for several fun activities, such as how to extract DNA from a strawberry or make your own DNA bracelet. Could be fun!

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.”

Psalm 139:13-18

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