Dear Genetics Colleagues,

The DNA Day essay contest had a great year in 2014. We had almost 170 essays submitted from 20 countries. This number has grown from about 90 the first year. The “top three” participating countries were Italy, Cyprus and Poland. Some countries participated for the first time, such as Spain and Albania. These 170 essays represent some 140 science classrooms.

For the 8th year, the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) will be sponsoring a DNA Day Essay contest in European high schools as part of International DNA Day activities.

The winners will again be announced on April 25, DNA Day. This should foster the participation of more students/classes, by giving science teachers time to plan this into their curricula for the year. This schedule will allow winning classes to enjoy their prizes and give teachers the opportunity to use the winning essays as a teaching tool.

This year’s themes to be chosen from are:

1. Do you think genome sequencing will impact on your future life? Give examples of what you would want and what you would not want to happen because of genome sequencing.



2. How can you explain human complexity when we have so few protein coding genes, e.g. about 5,000 less than a cucumber?

Please use the essay contest as means to promote knowledge of genetics in your country and within Europe. The ESHG would also be pleased to learn about other DNA Day activities that you may be hosting in your country; you are welcome to submit these at

On a practical basis, we suggest that you:

o    Use existing contacts and “educational partners” from your country to disseminate information on the contest to schools, teachers, principals

o    Send a letter to secondary schools in your country, referring them to the DNA Day website (, which will have information on this year’s questions/contest directives early in November. Your national genetics society or other organization may also choose to create a website in your county, or provide a link to the ESHG‘s DNA Day site.

o    Promote the DNA Day essay contest and other DNA Day activities through radio, television, newspapers and social networking.

We invite you to take a look at the DNA Day website for previous questions, essays, memorable quotes and information on participating countries from contests in previous years: The contest is open to students ages 15-19, who should submit their essays electronically between November 15 and March 15. Winning essays will be announced via the ESHG website on April 25 as well as at the annual European Society meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, UK in June. The top three essays will be awarded monetary prizes, one for the student and a second for the class/teacher. All students who submit an essay will receive a certification of participation.

Please let us know how the ESHG can help you promote DNA Day!

Yours sincerely,

Tayfun Ozcelik, M.D.
Chairman, Education Committee ESHG

Christophe Cordier, M.S. Genetic Counselor
DNA Day Coordinator

Helena Kääriäinen, M.D.

President, European Society of Human Genetics