DNA Day celebrates the discovery and understanding of DNA and the scientific advances it has made possible. It is celebrated each April 25 and 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. Each year since, annual DNA Day celebrations have been organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

DNA is in all living things and contains the instructions necessary for life. The human genome, or all our DNA, is a complete set of genetic instructions that helps us understand more about our health and the health of our communities and planet.

Learning about DNA, the human genome and genomics from an early age gives us tools to understand the world around us through exciting, cutting-edge science. You can learn more about the basics of DNA in this video.

Illumina, a biotech company with a mission to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome. Illumina is also committed to igniting genomic curiosity in students and empowering the next generation of scientists and engineers through educational opportunities and resources like what you find on DNADay.org.

There are two featured activities to start with: a DNA extraction activity or a career chat. For the DNA extraction activity, when you sign up you will be able to order one of two types of kits.

  • group/classroom activity that can be implemented either in-person or at home in a virtual environment with a class
  • or for one or a small group of students at home

For the career chat, when you sign up to request a career chat with your students you will receive a notification as soon as you are matched with an Illumina employee volunteer that matches your availability and, as much as possible, your interest area(s).

Please note the DNA extraction kits are limited so ordering is on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are unable to participate in these featured activities, look through the events calendar for events that may interest your classroom and explore the various ready-to-go activities based on grade level.

We have had successful in-classroom experiences from 2nd grade through 12th grade. The biggest difference is how you share the content with the students. If students are in elementary school, we recommend highlighting different traits we can see in the world around us (i.e. who has dimples, hair color, eye color, right/left-handed, etc.). When we are talking to middle/high school students, we discuss traits, genomics applications, and emphasize different careers that are possible at Illumina. Many of them do not know that there are related non-scientist jobs available or how many different types of scientist and engineering jobs there are.

The registration survey should be filled out by the teacher, program coordinator, or educator who will be leading the students. For example, if charity XX shares this opportunity with an entire school, EACH teacher will need to fill the form out for EACH classroom/period participating.

We suggest allotting 45 minutes for these activities but include time to get your class set up online if you are in a virtual setting.

We understand that safety is a priority in our current environment. Even in a remote learning environment, students can still participate in our strawberry DNA extraction activity.

  1. Order the group/classroom kit and separate it into 32 individual kits.  Coordinate your “classroom supply pick up” days with a date in April and have the students participate on video.2. Order a single kit and do a demo for them, going through all the steps listed. Do not order single kits for students. These are reserved for teachers or scientists to perform demos.

Yes! We would love for you to share these opportunities with your teacher teams and colleagues. Just be sure that if they want to participate in any of the hands-on portions, they register their own group/class.

For those participating in our featured activities, you will receive detailed information once you register your classroom. If you are interested in hosting your own event and want to discuss what that could look like, please reach out to us here.

We focus on celebrating DNA Day in April with special activities and events, but there are activities, programs, and resources available all year-round. On our activities page you will find options not tied to April, and you can also find additional educational resources on DNA and genomics at illumina.com/stem.

We are partnering with K-12 classrooms (public, private and charter), after-school programs, and non-profit organizations to bring genomic activities to students. If students are at home, family members are welcome to join in the fun as well.

For any additional questions, please use the Contact page to reach out to the Illumina Future is Bright team.