What Is National DNA Day All About?

By | April 21, 2018

It seems that almost everything has its own special day. Two that spring to mind are Genealogy Day and National DNA Day. Who would have thought that, hey?

You can probably understand Genealogy Day, but seriously DNA Day? So, why should we have a day to honor DNA? Well, read on and I will explain to you why in this post.


The DNA code explained!

On April 25th 1953 four biologists James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, together with other colleagues, published papers that were included in the scientific journal Nature explaining the structure of DNA, otherwise known as the Double Helix.

Fast forward then fifty years to 2003 and on that very day it was announced that the Human Genome Project was very nearly close to completion. It took scientists 13 years to complete this mammoth project.

This project was set out to sequence the nucleotide base pairs that essentially make up the human DNA. And so on this date in 2003 there were only a few remaining gaps to decipher.

National DNA Day was first celebrated in the U.S. on April 25th 2003. However, it was intended to just be a one-time celebration. The National Human Genome Research Institute, (more on them later), would let DNA Day celebrations continue to this day.

April 25th has also been declared as International DNA Day and World DNA Day by various groups around the world.

Special Date:

National DNA Day – April 25th (also known as International DNA Day and World DNA Day)

Credit:   AncestryDNA

What Is DNA?

DNA is the coding or genetic information that tells us what eye color we have, the color of our hair, the color of our skin, and other attributes that make us who we are.

The exact number of cells in the human cannot be determined but we do know that nearly every cell has this DNA structure.

What Is DNA Markers?

Discovering clues about our past!

You maybe surprised to know that we are all in fact 99.9% identical to each other. It is only the 0.1% that matters which makes us all different, (apart from identical twins).

This DNA is passed down to us from our ancestors and so effectively it can tell us about our family’s past. Scientists use what are called markers. The markers can tell us differences between each us and thus help us to find clues about our past.

They then use these clues against a database of records to build up a picture of where we came from. It is quite an extraordinary and wonderful science for the family historian to utilize.

You can read more about it by reading my What Is A Genealogy DNA Test post.

National Human Genome Research Institute

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) organize events each year on April 25th celebrating the discovery of human DNA.

They arrange for speakers to enter halls so that they can speak to students about the importance of DNA. The general public can also learn about DNA as well from these public engagements.

National Human Genome Research Institute

So, what next for NHGRI?

Due to the completion of the Human Genome Project it has led to the Genomic Era. This new era has opened up a totally new area for scientists to explore.

This new direction and its goals will look at understanding the biology of diseases and also advancing the science of medicine.

Due to this expansion into a new are the institute has had to be reorganized. And so a new program called the Extramural Research Program has started up.

This program has been divided into 4 divisions which will help complete their new goals in understanding more about the nature of the human genome.

What Can You Do On This Day?

Now that you know a little more about DNA and the importance of this date you maybe wondering what can you do to get involved?

The DNA inside of us has been passed on for countless generations. So, what better to learn about it than by discovering our ancestors along the way?

What can I do?

There are many activities that you can participate in to celebrate DNA Day. But I should point out that you can do these activities throughout the year as well. Not just on April 25th.

So, after this date has passed then please carry on learning about DNA, what new discoveries there and also how it can help your genealogy research.

Some activities that you can do:

  • Essay contests – How about you write an essay on the importance of DNA?
  • Strawberry DNA Extraction – Learn about DNA through strawberries. An interesting way to learn about this science through fruit.
  • Learn about the timeline of the human genome – Discover the history behind this science by learning about Mendel’s work with peas back in the mid 1800s.
  • Learn about the exploration of ancient DNA – How about you learn what was discovered from fossilized remains and feces, permafrost cores and also other unusual sources of DNA?

There are just so many different ways for you to become involved. Please take a look at the Get Activity Ideas page of the NHGRI site for more ideas.

My Final Thoughts

I want to just stress how important DNA testing has become to learning about your ancestors. Frankly DNA testing is the next big thing in genealogy research.

It can tell you so much about your ethnicity and it can connect you with your distant cousins as well. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this ‘new’ science.

As more and more of us take the test then there is more of a chance for you to make a connection with others. You can therefore learn more about your roots from communicating with your matches.

The best thing about this ‘new’ science is that it is always improving. You will continually get more and more refined results as time goes by.

So, please do not be disheartened if you do not get the results that you are after straight away. Just give it some time.

Take the DNA test today!

If you are interested in discovering what’s inside your DNA then please check out my Best DNA Test For Your Ancestry Research post. There you will learn about the 5 best DNA testing kits that are available today and which one is right for you.

Or if you are already prepared to take the test then please check out these current deals that celebrate National DNA Day. They really are great savings that you can make. So, please take advantage of them today!

Start your DNA adventure today

Taking the test is simple. You either need to spit inside a tube or swab the inside of your cheek. You then send off your sample and then wait about 6-8 weeks to get your results back.

DNA testing can help you!

DNA testing has become the latest tool for genealogists as I have mentioned. It can help you break down any brick walls that you may have encountered in your research.

So, if you are struggling to know which direction to go next to find your ancestors then why not give DNA testing a go.

There is just so much to explore through this area of science. It just opens up so many new branches of your family tree and can connect you with relatives that you never knew even existed before.

I myself have been astounded as to the ‘long lost’ family members that I have met whilst tracing my family tree. So, do yourself a favor and really get to know your ancestors through DNA testing.

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post giving you a guide as to what National DNA Day is all about. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

12 thoughts on “What Is National DNA Day All About?

  1. Keli

    Your article was very enjoyable. I did not know there was an International DNA day. My sister is a Genetic Engineer in Huntsville, AL. She works with a company that was developing gene therapy for diseases. I’m not sure what they are doing now. It’s funny because we don’t know any of our extended family. Maybe one day.

    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Keli, even though the human genome has been mapped there is just so much more we can and need to learn. It’s such an exciting field of research. And for us genealogists it can teach us a lot about our ancestors.

  2. Veena

    DNA day! It seems there’s a day for everything these days! An interesting post written. Never knew there were activities planned as well. I am particularly interested in strawberry DNA extraction and exploration of ancient DNA. Will not miss it out. Thanks for sharing

    1. Owain Post author

      You’re welcome Veena. There is a lot of things you can do on this day. You may like to try out a DNA test and discover your family history. It certainly has become a popular method for genealogists.

  3. Sam

    This was a very interesting and informative read, I actually did not know about this myself and I’m glad I do know about it now. Your website covers a lot of important topics that more people need to know about I hope they find your website.

    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you Sam. Discovering your family history is both exciting and exhilarating. You just don’t know who you will discover.

      Also, genealogy is such a big subject to cover. And with this website so far I have only just scratched the surface. I plan to add so much more useful information to this site. So please keep checking back regularly. And also share with friends and family.

  4. Craig

    Hi Owain, Wow! We knew about DNA in 1953? It just goes to show how complex it is, since it wasn’t really fully understood until 50 years later. To be quite honest, I think it’s such an important piece of our history and a real milestone in determining identities that it should have a National DNA day! Why not? After all, it really was a turning point in our lifetime wrt biological data.

    1. Owain Post author

      It did surprise me too just how long ago that the discovery was made. It may not though be so surprising how long that it did take to map the human genome though. The human body is a complex thing, and as a side note so is the brain.

      There is just so much more that can be learned about DNA. With advancements in this ‘new’ area for genealogists we can certainly learn more about our ancestors and where they came from.

  5. Grace

    Very interesting and informative article. For a long time DNA was not even mentioned to the wast majority. I don’t remember even in the 70s hearing much about it, just a piece of information here and there. It’s is absolutely fascinating what we can learn from DNA sample. Thank you for the information.

    1. Owain Post author

      It’s certainly a lot more noticeable now, what with seeing Ancestry DNA adverts on television all the time. It’s just incredible what you can find out from doing a DNA test.

  6. Furkan

    Involving in this day is such a great idea. I already studied Mendel in high school but I was really not interested in. However Strawberry DNA Extraction looks really interesting. I will definitely try that.

    1. Owain Post author

      Strawberry DNA extraction is a bit wacky but it does get people interested in the DNA and the science behind it. Hope you have fun with that.


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