Thursday, April 18, 2013

Celebrating National DNA Day

By Nurse Diane

Recently a friend of mine introduced me to a detective show on television.  This was not an ordinary detective show; it is a show about real cases, and real people who have committed a crime, usually a murder.  The criminals left behind one small piece of themselves behind, and with that minute piece of evidence, crimes were solved using DNA testing.

What is DNA?  Well the long word of it is Deoxyribonucleic acid.  It is a system of codes that makes up who we are.  Just like a snowflake, there is an individual code for each person.  Some people have similar codes, such as close relatives, your siblings, parents, but they are not exactly the same.
DNA Day commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA.  In fact, I was watching a rerun of Monk just yesterday, and they had an episode about DNA where this girl was doing a report about it and the captain explained about the uses in solving crimes.  DNA is only useful if there is something to compare it to.  It can offer some clues such as eye and hair color, but to catch a criminal, there must be some records on file to compare.

Currently, a DNA test is performed on criminals once they have been arrested, so if their DNA is found at another crime scene, it will be quickly identified.
According to, On April 19, 2013, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) will partner with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History to celebrate National DNA Day, a day that commemorates the discovery of the double helix in 1953 and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003.

The National DNA Day/Smithsonian celebration will be a unique day when students and teachers can learn more about genetics and genomics. The DNA Day celebration will include a morning of engaging scientific presentations and panel discussions with some of the nation's leading historians, scientists, geneticists and physicians that will emphasize the wide breadth of careers within genomics and genetics.
For more information on DNA Day, visit this site:
(All images from Google) 

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