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It's DNA Day!

It's DNA Day, that day once a year that celebrates both the publication in 1953 of James Watson and Francis Crick's paper on the structure of DNA and the completion in 2003 of the Human Genome Project, and there's lots going on.

In honor of the day, both the American Society of Human Genetics and the European Society of Human Genetics have held essay contests. ASHG's top prize went to Rachel Gleyzer, a sophomore at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey, and the winner of the ESHG contest was Glielmo Finotti from IIS Ferrari in Este, Italy. Both Rachel and Glielmo wrote about the influence of heredity and environment on whether someone has perfect pitch.

In Washington, DC, there will be DNA Day Ambassadors at the USA Science and Engineering Festival to guide attendees through DNA-themed hands-on activities.

Tomorrow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York is hosting a DNA-Day themed scavenger hunt for elementary school-aged kids through its learning center and the surrounding village.

And if you want to play with some DNA at home, the DNA Day Twitter account sent out this link to this YouTube video from 2010 with Eric Green, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Carla Easter, the deputy chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch at NHGRI, showing how to extract DNA from strawberries using household supplies and, well, smashing of the berries.