Happy DNA Day 2016!
National DNA Day is a holiday celebrated on April 25. It 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. Furthermore, on that day in 2003 it was declared that the Human Genome Project was very close to complete, and “the remaining tiny gaps [we]re considered too costly to fill.”
In the United States, DNA Day was first celebrated on April 25, 2003 by proclamation of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.However, they only declared a one-time celebration, not an annual holiday. Every year from 2003 onward, annual DNA Day celebrations have been organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), starting as early as April 23 in 2010, April 15 in 2011 and April 20 in 2012. April 25 has since been declared “International DNA Day” and “World DNA Day” by several groups.
Here are some great places to learn more about DNA Day!
I am Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health where I oversee the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. In my role as the NIH Director, I oversee the NIH’s efforts in building groundbreaking initiatives such as the BRAIN Initiative, the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative, thePrecision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, and the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot program. In addition to these programs, my colleagues and I work to promote diversity in the biomedical workforce, improve scientific policy with the aim to improve the accuracy of outcomes, continue NIH’s commitment to basic science, and increase open access to data.
Happy DNA Day! We’ve come a long way since the completion of the Human Genome Project. Researchers are now collaborating on a wide range of projects that use measures of environmental exposure, social and behavioral factors, and genomic tools and technologies to expand our understanding of human biology and combat human disease. In particular, these advances in technology and our understanding of our DNA has allowed us to envision a future where prevention and treatment will be tailored to our personal circumstances. The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative, being launched this year, will enroll one million or more Americans by 2019, and will enable us to test these exciting ideas in the largest longitudinal cohort study ever imagined in the U.S.