ASHG DNA Day Essay Contest

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) invites you to participate in the 8th Annual DNA Day Essay Contest! The contest is open to students in grades 9-12.

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on the important concepts of genetics. Essays are expected to contain substantive, well-reasoned arguments indicative of a depth of understanding of the concepts related to the essay questions.

Essays are read and evaluated by several independent judges through three rounds of scoring.

1st Place Winner: $1,000 + teacher receives a $1,000 grant for laboratory genetics equipment.
2nd Place Winner: $600 + teacher receives a $600 grant for laboratory genetics equipment.
3rd Place Winner: $400 + teacher receives a $400 grant for laboratory genetics equipment.
Honorable Mention: 10 prizes of $100 each.

This year there is one question, which deals with with discoveries in genetics that have occurred in the 60 years since Watson and Crick published their model of the DNA double helix.


2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick and the 10th anniversary of the first sequencing of the human genome. Choose either of these breakthroughs and explain its broader impact on biotechnology, human health and disease, or our understanding of basic genetics, such as genetic variation or gene expression.

Justify your answer in detail and be sure to include one or more specific examples of broader impact. Use reliable references and citations to support your argument, for example, research published by experts in scientific journal articles and books.

2013 Essay Contest Rules, Guidelines, and Scoring Rubric
Submission site opens January 18, 2013

Deadline: March 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM EST

Past Winning Essays:



20092008: High School

2008: Middle School



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