DNA Day 2018 : What is it and why do we celebrate it?

DNA Day is celebrated on the 25th of April each year, honouring the Human Genome Project and discovery of the double helix Watson and Crick in 1953.

DNA Day is celebrated on the 25th of April each year, honouring the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of the double helix molecular structure by Francis Crick and James Watson in 1953. The day aims to commemorate the history of genetics and to promote the future of it, encouraging people to get excited about the possibilities that genetics bring.

During the 1950s, 'gene' meant the small unit of genetic information even though they did not physically know what the structure of a gene looked like as a form and chemically. When Crick and Watson published their findings, they included a very detailed drawing of the double helix structure of DNA, illustrated by Crick's wife. Amusingly, both men took part in a coin toss in order to decide who's name appeared first on their published paper as the authors.

Rosalind Franklin, (born July 25, 1920, London, England—died April 16, 1958, London), also played a huge part in the discovery of DNA but is often forgotten about. She was a British scientist, best known for her contributions to the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Franklin also greatly contributed to developments with viruses and their structure early on, helping lay the foundations towards research conducted over the later years. Despite continuous difficulties Franklin faced relating to gender inequality at the time, she continued working to refine her X-ray images, using finer DNA fibers and arranging them differently for her chromatography. It was during this time that Francis Crick and his partner, James Watson, were working on a model-based approach to trying to discover the structure of the DNA molecule.

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When the project was finished in 2003, DNA Day was only present in the US and was considered a one time celebration proclaimed by both the Senate and House of Representatives. However, 15 years later and DNA Day is recognised on a global scale, recognising the 65th year anniversary of the double helix structure this year.

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It’s important that we still understand why DNA day is celebrated each year. Discovering the DNA double helix structure began the process for scientists to start decoding DNA molecules which laid the foundations of the Human Genome Project. Making sense of this structure and knowing more about genes has also led to huge developments and breakthroughs about how genes cause inherited diseases, resulting in many advances in DNA research.

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How are we getting involved?

To mark DNA Day this month, we will be running our own campaign. There will be a 20% promotion on our Living DNA kits which gives you access to your own portal containing your results. This is a site wide sale so will be added automatically on purchase!

DNA Day Activity

One of the most popular activities around DNA Day is DNA Extraction from strawberries! It's fun, messy and really simple to do!

Click the link below to have a go!


Find out more about Living DNA’s 3-in-1 ancestry test.