21 February 2008

DNA Day student contest

Congress designated April 25 as DNA Day to commemorate the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the publication by Watson and Crick of the double-helix structure of DNA.

The Third National DNA Day essay contest for middle and high school students is co-sponsored by the American Society of Human Genetics, Applied Biosystems and the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology.

First place winners in each category will receive $350; second place winners, $250; and third place winners, $150. Teachers who submit first place essays will receive $2,000 to purchase classroom equipment. The deadline is March 17; all students in grades 7-12 are eligible.

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question and reflect on the importance and social implications of genetic research.

Some 200 members of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the Genetics Society of America will serve as judges.

MIDDLE SCHOOL (grades 7-8):

1. Why is it important for us to discover the patterns of genotypic and phenotypic similarity and difference in living things and why should we understand the theories that describe the importance of genetic diversity for species and ecosystems?

2. Why is it important for us to learn about our family health history? What can our family health/medical history tell us? What doesn't it tell us?

HIGH SCHOOL (grades 9-12):

1. Discuss the practical implications that genetics research is playing in our lives today. Discuss where it might lead us in the next 10 years.

2. If you could be a human genetics researcher, what would you study and why?

For complete contest rules and information, click here. Previous winning essays are also on the site.

I was hoping for something more specifically genealogical in the questions - maybe next year? However, this is a great way to get young people involved early on in this field.

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