To celebrate DNA Day 2016, the American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) held its 11th Annual DNA Essay Contest and co-sponsored a week of live discussions on Twitter and Reddit. DNA Day is observed on April 25 each year to commemorate the discovery of DNA’s structure in 1953 and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003.
For the DNA Essay Contest, students in grades 9–12 were asked to support or refute a recommendation on genetic testing in adolescents from a recent ASHG position statement. Students submitted responses from 44 U. S. states and 24 countries around the world. More than 400 ASHG members judged the entries, ultimately selecting a student from Madison, Wisconsin as the winner.
To engage a wider community in DNA Day, ASHG developed and helped seed online discussions. ASHG participated in the #DNADay16 Twitter chat. The Society also cosponsored a weeklong series of Ask Me Anything discussions on the online community Reddit led by geneticist George Church and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins among others.