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2015 Annual DNA Day Essay Contest

2015 Annual DNA Day Essay Contest

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) invites you to participate in the 10th Annual DNA Day Essay Contest! The contest is open to students in grades 9-12 (SS 1 – SS3)

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on important concepts in genetics. Essays are expected to contain substantive, well-reasoned arguments indicative of a depth of understanding of the concepts related to the essay question. Essays are read and evaluated by several independent judges through three rounds of scoring.

Nigerian essay contest


In 1969, Jonathan Beckwith, James Shapiro, and Lawrence Eron isolated the first gene, the Lac Z gene from E.coli.  At that time, genes were thought to be discrete, contiguous segments of DNA that coded for functional protein products. Using our current understanding of the human genome, choose a phenomenon related to gene structure, products, or regulation that expands this definition of a gene. Explain the phenomenon and provide three specific examples of it in the human genome.


The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)


1st Place Winner: $1,000 + $1,000 genetics materials grant for teacher

2nd Place Winner: $600 + $600 genetics materials grant for teacher

3rd Place Winner: $400 + $400 genetics materials grant for teacher

Honorable Mention: 10 prizes of $100 each


March 6, 2015


  • Essays will be accepted from high school students (grades 9-12) in the US and internationally.
  • A teacher or administrator must submit the essay and authenticate that the submission is the original work of the student.
  • Parents may submit the essays of home-schooled students only.
  • Only one entry may be submitted for each student.
  • All essays must be written in English and are limited to 750 words, including in-text citations.
  • Essay titles are optional and will be counted towards the word limit.
  • Reference lists do not count toward the 750 word limit.
  • Each teacher may only submit six student essays per class, for up to three classes.
  • Essays must be submitted electronically through the ASHG submission site no later than 5:00 pm EST on March 6, 2015. The ASHG submission site will open on January 14, 2015. Essays mailed, faxed, or emailed to the Society will NOT be accepted. Once submitted, essays cannot be changed or revised.
  • The text of student essays must be original prose unless quotations are explicitly noted. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Essays found to contain the uncited work of others will be disqualified, and the student’s teacher will be notified
  • Essays must include at least one reference. References must be clearly documented with both in-text citations and in the references list (the reference list should be separately entered into the “References” section of the submission page). Students may use either APA or MLA style for citing references. There is no restriction on how many references students may use. Quality of references will be considered by judges when scoring.  General references such as Wikipedia are considered low-quality, whereas primary literature from research journals (see is considered high-quality.
  • Submit here.




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