It’s National DNA Day – celebrated every year on April 25th to commemorate the day in 1953 that papers were published about the double helix structure of DNA (Check out the biographies in Biography Reference Center for James Dewey Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin). It also commemorates the day that the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. There are some great interactive timelines about the study and discoveries of DNA found at: Unlocking Life’s Code: Timeline of the Human Genome and Timeline of Ancient DNA, and you may be interested in this timeline as well: Timeline: Organisms that have had their genomes sequenced. In addition, we have two great science resources to study this topic: ScienceOnline and Science Reference Center.
DNA has been in the news for the past few years as the popularity of having DNA Testing done in order to find your family’s ancestry has grown. Not only have people learned what regions of the world their DNA comes from, they have also had some surprising family history results. For some great reads about the genealogy use of DNA, check out these reads:
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro in OverDrive.
But DNA is more than just family history. It affects our likes and dislikes. What we enjoy eating. What smells attract us. There is so much involved with DNA. So many mysteries are solved and yet there is still more to discover as the Human Genome Project and continued research has found. In 2018, 42 Degrees North Media posted a series of videos to YouTube for NHGRI as a part of the National DNA Day: 15 for 15 Celebration which highlight many of the lessons learned from the project. And here are some popular science reads you may enjoy: Pleased to Meet Me by Bill Sullivan in OverDrive and the audiobook DNA is Not Destiny by Steven J. Heine in Hoopla.
In today’s medical world, DNA is leading to breakthroughs in treating conditions through precision medicine. For some interesting short videos, check out the Medical Mystery videos from Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code. For more on the medical side of DNA, search DNA or Precision Medicine in Consumer Health Complete.
There have also been controversies over the use of DNA with medical discoveries. Here are two such reads: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot in OverDrive and Pandora’s DNA by Lizzie Stark in Hoopla.
In closing, here some fun DNA projects you can do to celebrate this day:
- Coloring with the Cell – lots of coloring pages
- Yummy Gummy DNA – make a double helix using gummy bears and toothpicks
- Sequence Bracelets – make DNA bracelets using elastic thread and beads colored red, yellow, blue, and green
- Origami DNA – all you need is a printer and paper
Sara Churchill is the Digital Services Librarian and Assistant Supervisor at Main-Information Services. Loves reading Science Fiction/Fantasy books, British cozy mysteries, True Crime and other true stories, plus a past reader of horror fiction by the likes of Stephen King and John Saul (among others). Also a big fan of Sci-fi, action, horror, spaghetti westerns, and based-on-a-true story movies. Her blogs are for adults and the entire family to enjoy reading and trying out the many online resources free for library cardholders to use.