To commemorate a special day reserved exclusively for the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953, April 25th marks the official date of International DNA Day.
Known to be the blueprint for life, a human’s DNA – Deoxyribonucleic acid, is composed of hereditary materials and contains the instructions and information responsible for an organism to develop, live and reproduce. Although humans share 99.9% of similarities in the composition of our DNA, it is the 0.01% that differentiates us from one another, thus, designing our own unique DNA makeup.
The Double Helix
- The structure of a DNA molecule is described as the double helix, It was discovered in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick.
- Consisting of two strands that wind around each other like a twisted ladder, each strand that forms a DNA molecule has a backbone made of alternating groups of sugar and phosphate groups.
- There are four different types of bases attached to each sugar – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), or thymine (T).
- The two strands are held together by bonds between the bases. (A) + (T) and (C) + (T).
The Human Genome Project was a collaborative international scientific research project. Its main goal was focused on the complete mapping and understanding of all the genes which make up a human being.
Eight percent of our genome (genetic material) is made up of ancient retrovirus DNA, most of which have been passed down to us for so long that the majority have been mutated and are powerless in our system.
According to researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, approximately four grams of DNA can potentially store all the digital information in this world.
An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. This process is essential during cell division.
Friedrich Miescher – a Swiss physician and biologist, was the first to identify DNA as the carrier of inheritance, in the year 1869.
International DNA Day is aimed at offering students, teachers, and the public an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the latest advances in genomic research as well as explore those advances.
It has been announced that the theme for 2017’s International DNA Day will be “Meeting the 13th Five-Year Plan, Building Biotechnology Ecosystem”.
A conference, to be held on the 25th-27th of April at Xi’an, China, will be dedicated to learning about the new developments in the field of Life Sciences and Bio-Industries.