DNA Day: Celebrating the Decades-long Unraveling of DNA

DNA day 2014

April 25th marks DNA Day. It’s on the calendar today to commemorate the 1953 publication of the structure of DNA by Francis Crick, James Watson, and others — but really, it’s a time to think about this special molecule and its role in what we do.

Just a decade after the completion of the Human Genome Project, it is truly amazing that it’s possible not only to sequence a human genome or exome, but to do so thousands of times and compare the results for a better understanding of human genetic variation. Studies comparing a few thousand exomes are becoming routine, and we are even seeing studies with 10,000-plus exomes. (Check out our Baylor CHARGE project as an example.)

These massive research and clinical efforts will be necessary to truly parse the meaning of our DNA. We are proud to be part of the community working on this challenge by providing cloud-based computational resources that let scientists run enormous analyses without crushing their local infrastructure. We also host great tools in our platform, so researchers have the option of porting in their own favorite pipelines or using our tools to create plug-and-play workflows in the cloud. And our insistence on enterprise-grade security means that you don’t have to worry about keeping your data safe; we take care of that for you. That’s cause for everyone to be optimistic about the future of these studies on DNA Day.

In case you were wondering, our data consumption isn’t just limited to As, Cs, Ts, and Gs. This week our team had fun looking back at the impressive results of writing contests associated with past DNA Days. Check out last year’s winners of the essay contest sponsored by the American Society of Human Genetics or by the European Society of Human Genetics (both groups are expected to announce this year’s winners today). And if you only have a coffee break to do some link-surfing, don’t miss these winning haikus from previous DNA Day poetry contests. Here’s our favorite:

A spiral staircase
Each step makes you what you are
But not who you are