Applied Biosystems Celebrates National DNA Day
(Comtex Business Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Apr 25, 2007 (financialwire.net via COMTEX) --April 25, 2007 (FinancialWire) The American Society of Human Genetics, the Genetics Society of America, and Applied Biosystems (NYSE: ABI), an Applera Corp. business, are commemorating the fifth annual National DNA Day with activities aimed at reinforcing the value of genetic science education and driving awareness of important biomedical research accomplished since the mapping of the human genome.
Recognizing National DNA Day is an opportunity for students, teachers, and the public to learn more about genetics and genomics, and was created to recognize both the discovery of the structure of DNA and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. During the month of April, DNA Day ambassadors from the National Human Genome Research Institute and partner organizations, such as the ASHG, made presentations in high schools around the country to talk about the value of genetic science.
For the past two years, ASHG has teamed with GSA and Applied Biosystems to invite high school students on a global level to submit written essays on one of two questions: If you could be a human genetics researcher, what would you study and why?, and In what ways will knowledge of genetics and genomics make changes to health and healthcare in the U.S. possible?
Essays were submitted, representing candidates from six countries and 41 states, and were judged on the basis of critical thinking, scientific accuracy, creativity, and organization by ASHG and GSA members. Lindsay Michalski, a junior from Athens High School in Troy, Michigan won first place answering what she would study if she were a genetics researcher by addressing the promise of pharmacogenomics from her personal perspective of living with a father who is bipolar, a condition where extreme mood swings occur often and without warning. According to Michalski, pharmacogenomic research that could detect genetic variations among bipolar patients has the potential to provide boundless opportunities for advancement of treatment options for people afflicted by the multifaceted condition.
ASHG and GSA judges awarded Elena Perry, a freshman from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland first place for her thoughts about how knowledge of genetics and genomics will affect future healthcare. Perry's essay addressed how DNA testing could possibly determine whether she will be affected by her father's defective Factor V Leiden gene, which would predispose her to forming clots in her blood vessels. She noted that tests have yet to be developed for many genetic conditions, and that increased knowledge of genetics and genomics will enable a shift to proactive health care that is predictive, preventative and personalized.
As part of Applied Biosystems' sponsorship, Michalski and Perry will each receive $350, and their teachers will be awarded $2,000 each to purchase scientific equipment to help sustain the genetics program in their classrooms.
The second and third place winners for the first question were Margaret Dietrich, from East Kentwood High School in Kentwood, Michigan, and Jason Choi from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Springs, Maryland. The second and third place winners for the second question were Sumit Malik from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, and Nathan Whitmore from Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High in Davis, California. Second and third place essay winners will each receive $250 and $150, respectively.
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