Space Station Update: Student Research In Space: National DNA Day

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016

Anna-Sophia Boguraev, age 17, is pictured with her winning Genes in Space experiment, the miniPCR. The experiment was recently checked out and run aboard the International Space Station. Credits: NASA/ Kim Shiflett, NASA

National DNA Day is a holiday celebrated on April 25. It commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA.

In the United States, DNA Day was first celebrated on April 25, 2003 by proclamation of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. However, they only declared a one-time celebration, not an annual holiday. Every year from 2003 onward, annual DNA Day celebrations have been organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). April 25 has since been declared “International DNA Day” and “World DNA Day” by several groups.

The goal of National DNA Day is to offer students, teachers and the public an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the latest advances in genomic research and explore how those advances might impact their lives.

Today also marks the student submission deadline for the second year Genes in Space (GiS) student proposals. The first Genes in Space winner’s experiment using the miniPCR is currently operating on ISS. Checkout and two sample runs were completed on station this past week, and the final “Blue” sample is scheduled to be completed on Wednesday morning 4/27. The mini-polymerase chain reaction is a COTS instrument which replicates DNA in order to have enough to analyze. The specific objectives of this experiment are to use PCR technology to study epigenetic changes and how they affect the human immune system.

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