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Annual DNA Day Essay Contest for JS3 to SS3 Students
Annual DNA Day Essay Contest for JS3 to SS3 Students
Deadline: 3rd March 2021

ASHG is proud to support National DNA Day through the Annual DNA Day Essay Contest. DNA Day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003 and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953. This contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on important ideas and issues related to human genetics. Competitive essays are expected to convey substantive, well-reasoned, and evidence-based arguments that demonstrate deep understanding.

Essays are evaluated through three rounds of judging, and every essay is read by a minimum of three judges. Top-scoring essays have typically been scored by a dozen or more judges.


The contest is open to students in grades 9-12 worldwide (JS3 to SS3 classes)

2021 Essay Question

All humans are 99.9% genetically identical at the DNA level. Remarkably, just a small fraction (0.1%) of our DNA contributes to the different characteristics among populations around the world and that make every person unique. Important discoveries in human genetics and genomics often rely on comparing groups of people, for example people with a given disease compared to people without the disease. These studies utilize genomic data from individuals who have contributed their DNA for research purposes, most of which (approximately 80%) are individuals of European ancestry. How does this population representation impact genomic findings? Can the data and results of these studies still be useful for studies in other populations from around the world? Discuss whether inclusion of more diverse populations in genetic and genomic studies holds a potential to benefit future genetic research and improve human health.

Important Dates
Early January 2021: Submission site opens
Wednesday, March 3, 2021: Submission site closes
Friday, April 23, 2021: Winners and Honorable Mentions announced
Sunday, April 25, 2021: DNA Day
  • 1st Place Winner: $1,000 for student and $1,000 genetics materials grant
  • 2nd Place Winner: $600 for student and $600 genetics materials grant
  • 3rd Place Winner: $400 for student and $400 genetics materials grant
  • Honorable Mentions: 10 student prizes of $100 each

Interested? Check here when submission opens

Source: American Society of Human Genetics

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