Hussman Institute Celebrates National DNA Day with Frost Science Museum

More than 2,800 attendees learned about the significance of genomic research.

Anthony Griswold, Ph.D., speaks at DNA Day

Curiosity and excitement about genetics filled the floors of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science as researchers from the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine led this year’s National DNA Day celebration.

The day honors the 1953 discovery of the DNA double helix and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. The annual event also invites students, educators and the community to learn about and celebrate the impact of the latest advances in genomic research.

Scientists at the Hussman Institute collaborated with Frost Science to provide hands-on experience in the genomics field to the 2,800 museum goers on National DNA day.

“This is the second year in a row that we have been able to bring awareness to the community about genetics and ongoing technologies while sparking an interest in science through fun and engaging activities,” said Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., director of the Hussman Institute and the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genetics Executive Vice Chair. “This event stimulates curiosity and introduces kids to genetics, which can be a complicated topic, in a creative way that is easily accessible.”

Nine interactive sessions made up the day’s itinerary as participants embarked on an exhilarating, DNA-based adventure. Sessions let participants create their own strand of DNA from candy, unravel the secrets of CRISPR genome editing and extract DNA from strawberries.

Kids in National DNA Day actives at the Frost Science Museum.
Kids in National DNA Day actives at the Frost Science Museum.

Anthony Griswold, Ph.D., associate professor in the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics and associate director of the Center for Genome Technology, participated in “Meet the Scientist” talks on genomics and ancestry. Through engaging anecdotes and DNA data, he illuminated the interconnectedness of humanity, inspiring participants to ponder their unique genetic journey.

“Each of our genomes tells a unique story, particularly about where we come from and how that impacts our traits and potentially our health,” Dr. Griswold said. “I was impressed at the level of interest of the young people at the event and their desire to know about genomics and how it will impact all our futures.”

More than just an educational event, National DNA Day was a celebration of community and shared curiosity. Participants of all ages explored the wonders of genomics as the event fostered a sense of camaraderie and connection.

Tags: Center for Genome Technology, Dr. Anthony Griswold, Dr. Margaret Pericak-Vance, genomics, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics