Did you know that all humans share about 99.9% of their DNA with all other humans?
Or that humans actually share 98.8% of their DNA with chimpanzees?
And did you know that your DNA may actually be a contributing factor to how your body gains and loses weight?
In short, DNA is really important. It is the “software”, the code of life.
Which is why we are ready to celebrate National DNA Day.
Let’s go on our DNA journey together…
What Exactly Is National DNA Day?
Maybe. But National DNA Day is definitely a real thing.
It began on April 25, 2003, and was originally intended to just be a one-time celebration commemorating the successful completion of the Human Genome Project as well as the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953.
But the tradition carried on.
Ever since 2003, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has continued to organize DNA celebrations on April 25th.
Why Is National DNA important?
National DNA Day is meant to pay tribute to James Watson and Francis Crick, who, in 1953, published their research on the structure of DNA in the scientific journal, Nature.
Their groundbreaking research paved the way for even more advanced learning about the structure of DNA, how it replicates itself generation after generation, and how it encodes the proteins that are the molecular machines that make our cells function.
Advanced DNA studies have huge benefits.
Understanding DNA means understanding our bodies better and how they work.
DNA research has also given us great insights on how to treat or even prevent illnesses.
Not to mention its now crucial use in criminal and historical investigations. For example, DNA studies led to the discovery of King Richard III of England’s remains who had actually been buried under a parking lot for years!
What You Eat Affects Your DNA
Did you know that eating certain foods may actually help repair and protect your DNA, playing a critical role in slowing the aging process as well as preventing cancer? To be specific, carotenoids, as well as vitamins A, B3, B9, B12, C, D and E have all been shown to help stabilize and protect DNA’s structure.
And just integrating certain spices in our cooking may protect our cells against DNA damage anywhere from 25% (with rosemary and ginger) to 50% (with turmeric).
Interestingly, not only does turmeric seem to be a potent protector against DNA strand breaks, it bestows its magic in a much smaller dose (just an eighth of a teaspoon a day!). Turmeric can be used in dozens of dishes including smoothies but studies suggest it is most effective when heated.
The Best Way to Celebrate DNA
What can you do to celebrate National DNA Day?
Here are some ideas:
- Discover Your Family Tree. In honor of the day, why not have DNA testing done? DNA can tell you a lot about your family history. You can compare your results with others and even possibly connect with distant members on your family tree.
- Learn More About DNA. What better way to celebrate than by learning more about the subject matter? Try to find a local lecture you could attend to learn more about DNA. And if you have children, be sure to include them in the learning experience as well!
- Get Crafty. Connect with your artistic side by creating a DNA model! DNA is essentially a double helix structure, so there are many ways you could create a model. You could even make an edible version using bendable foods.
- Check Out Events in your area by visiting the NHGRI website.
- Try a New Recipe. Round off National DNA Day with a healthful DNA-themed recipe. Here is our favorite–Southwestern Tofu Scramble! The recipe uses turmeric which, as we already mentioned, is one of the best spices when it comes to protecting our DNA’s (and our own) health.
And remember that, no matter how you choose to celebrate National DNA Day, DNA is not just important for scientists but for each and every one of us engaged in our health and well-being.