Eventful Days of April

Theral Timpson

April Fools Day

There were some big discoveries in the life sciences on April Fools Day (did you hear about a 24th chromosome being found?). So many, in fact, that we were busy all day doing research. After coming across the following announcement of "The Theome Project" around mid-afternoon, we just decided to head out for a drink and call it a day. We so enjoyed this post over at Genotopia, we’ve invited blogger Nathaniel Comfort to join us here at mendelspod.com:

Human Theome Project Sets Sights on 2012

DNA Day - April 15

Perhaps we were a bit envious of the classy, and not too taxing way Daniel MacArthur, genetic testing blogger (@dgmacarthur), celebrated DNA Day. He and the team at genomesunzipped.org reveled in some nostalgia at The Eagle pub of Watson and Crick fame in Cambridge, UK. I often find myself wondering what it was like for Watson and Crick, or Nirenberg and Matthae (they discovered that the poly-uracil RNA sequence coded for the amino acid phenylalanine) the night before they told the world. Knowledge that would change everything, and they were the only ones who knew.

I celebrated DNA day by spitting mine into a vial. Earlier in the week 23andMe ran a sale for what they call their Personal Genome Service. Though the kit arrived on DNA Day, I have to wait six to eight weeks for the results, according to the site. I’ll be blogging about my experience as it happens.

This is the first year I’ve celebrated DNA Day (we went to a pub, too). I picked this up from a congressional website:

“Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the Congress--

(1) designates April 2003 as `Human Genome Month' in order to recognize and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the outstanding accomplishment of describing the structure of DNA, the essential completion of the sequence of the human genome, and the development of a plan for the future of genomics;

(2) designates April 25, 2003, as `DNA Day' in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the description of the structure of DNA on April 25, 1953; and

(3) recommends that schools, museums, cultural organizations, and other educational institutions across the nation recognize Human Genome Month and DNA Day and carry out appropriate activities centered on human genomics, using information and materials provided through the National Human Genome Research Institute and through other entities.” S. Con. Res. 10

The congressional resolution only intends for a one time celebration. We have the NHGRI--they set the day each year--to thank for the ongoing tradition. This year the NHGRI posted a video on YouTube demonstrating the isolation of strawberry DNA using household means. We gave it a try. It's a great way to impress friends at a dinner party. It's a piece of cake.

Happy DNA Day!