|Students to Chat Online With Leading
Genome Researchers For National DNA Day
Virtual Celebration Encourages Exploration of Genomic
Bethesda, Maryland — On
April 25, high school students across the country will
celebrate National DNA Day by tuning in to webcasts
featuring cutting-edge genomic research and taking part
in a live online discussion with researchers from the
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part
of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
National DNA Day, begun in April 2003, commemorates
the successful completion of the Human Genome Project
and the anniversary of the discovery of DNA's double
helix in 1953. The event is a collaboration of NHGRI,
American Society of Human Genetics, Genetics Society
of America, the Genetic Alliance and the National Society
of Genetic Counselors.
“As we embark on the genome era, we face an urgent
need for a new generation of young professionals trained
in everything from molecular biology to computer science
to bioethics. National DNA Day is a wonderful opportunity
for students to learn from real-life genome researchers
how they can join in the effort to use genomics to improve
human health,” said NHGRI Director Francis S.
Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
The first DNA Day webcast will feature Dr. Collins,
co–leader of the Human Genome Project, who will discuss “The
Genome Era: What It Means for You.” The second
webcast will feature Elaine A. Ostrander, Ph.D., chief
of NHGRI’s Cancer Genetics Branch, who will describe
her work using the dog genome to understand human disease
in a talk entitled “The Power of Comparison: Unleashing
the Dog Genome.” Both webcasts will be available
on April 25 at www.genome.gov/DNAday.
In addition to viewing the free, on–demand webcasts,
teachers and students can take part in a live online
chat with NHGRI researchers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern
time at www.genome.gov/DNAday.
Experts will be on hand to field questions about a wide–range
of topics, including basic science, clinical research,
genomic careers and the ethical, legal and social implications
of genomic research. For those unable to participate
in the live event, a transcript of the chat will be
available on the DNA Day website.
“As we expand our public education program we
are pleased that computer technology is enabling NHGRI
to reach out to teachers and students across the country
in small towns and urban school districts and connect
them with genome researchers on National DNA Day,” said
Vence Bonham, J.D., chief of NHGRI’s Education and Community
Involvement Branch. “We hope that National DNA
Day will excite more students from all walks of life
to learn about genome science and careers in genomics.”
To help teachers and students make the most of National
DNA Day, NHGRI is offering a variety of free, educational
tools on genetics and genomics, which are available
In addition to the online resources, dozens of researchers
and staff from NHGRI will serve as “DNA Day Ambassadors” visiting
high schools in rural and urban communities across the
country. These ambassadors will help explain basic science
concepts and share first–hand some of their experiences
on the front lines of genomic research. A state–by–state
list of NHGRI’s DNA Day Ambassadors and their schools
is available at www.genome.gov/13514592.
NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at
the NIH, an agency of the Department of Health and
Human Services (DHHS). Additional information about
NHGRI can be found at its Web site, www.genome.gov.