Today is DNA day. As a science nerd I’m loving this!
Today we celebrate 2 important events in the history of genetic science – the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA by Watson and Frick in 1953 and the completion of the human genome project in 2001.
It is impossible to understate how important the discovery and mapping of DNA truly is. Simply put, DNA (aka Deoxyribonucleic acid) is the road map of life. It contains all the information required for any living thing to reproduce, grow, and function.
Both projects catapulted advancements in medicine, genetics, and many other areas of science. We have cancer treatments based on genetic markers. We have genetic counseling so couples with a family history can know their odds for passing genetic disorders to potential offspring. Scientists are discovering markers for all kinds of human traits with unknown future potential. Gene therapy and stem cell treatments are in their infancy, but they may well be the future of medicine.
While it isn’t technically true that humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas, it IS true that we share approximately 95% of our DNA with chimpanzees and 75% of disease-causing portions of DNA with the fruit fly. We are all connected with all the rest of God’s creation and if that isn’t worth celebrating I don’t know that is.