Discover Human Genetics
DNA contains the instructions needed for an organism to develop, survive, and reproduce. Studying the DNA of humans is important for discovering what keeps us healthy or makes us sick. Understanding these genetic factors improves how we can use our genetic code to advance treatments, cure diseases or, better yet, prevent diseases.
National DNA Day is annually recognized in April to commemorate the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953 and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003.
How can the NNLM Reading Club help you celebrate these scientific advancements and learn more about the DNA inside of you?
Discover an NNLM Reading Club book now and get the conversation started.
MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine, the largest biomedical library in the world. Use Medlineplus.gov anywhere, anytime, on any device - for free - to discover high-quality health and wellness information that is reliable, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish.
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MedlinePlus Genetics covers more than 1,300 genetic conditions and 1,400 genes and includes an illustrated genetics handbook, Help Me Understand Genetics, which offers basic explanations of how genes work and how mutations cause disorders, as well as current information about genetic testing, gene therapy, genetics research, and precision medicine.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. NIH is made up of 27 Institutes and Centers, each with a specific research agenda, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems.
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is the National Institutes of Health biomedical research agency for advancing genomics research. Precision Medicine is made possible as a result of The Human Genome Project, an international research effort to sequence the DNA of the entire human genome.
If you want to help researchers make discoveries that will advance medicine and improve health for generations to come, the All of Us Research Program invites you to be one of the one million or more people across the United States helping build the most diverse health database in history. Researchers will use this data to learn how our biology, lifestyle, and environment affect health to help personalize medicine in the future. Learn more about this historic program at joinallofus.org/nlm.
Books for Young Readers
Decoding Genes With Max Axiom, Super Scientist | Amber J Keyser | Capstone Press | 2020 | 32 pages | ISBN: 978-1543572476 | Grades 3-4
DNA Is You! The Marvelous Science Behind Your One-of-a-Kind-ness | Katie McKissick | Adams Media | 2019 | 256 pages | ISBN: 978-1721400171
The One and Only Me: A Book About Genes | Ariana Killoran | 23andMe, Inc. | 2016 | 32 pages | ISBN: 978-0989153713 | Grades PK-3
Who Was Charles Darwin | Deborah Hopkinson | Penguin Workshop | 2005 | 112 pages | ISBN: 978-0448437644 | Ages 8-12
The Eccles Institute of Human Genetics (EIHG) at the University of Utah sponsors the Genetic Science Learning Center, a website to explore videos, virtual labs, images of actual cells, and interactive exercises covering a massive amount of information on genetics.
Cracking Your Genetic Code (NOVA): What will it mean when most of us can afford to have the information in our DNA—all six billion chemical letters of it—read, stored, and available for analysis? What are the moral dilemmas raised by this new technology? Will it help or hurt us to know the diseases that may lie in our future? What if such information falls into the hands of insurance companies, employers, or prospective mates? One thing is for certain: the new era of personalized, gene-based medicine is relevant to everyone. Watch with your personal public library card or university login
The Gene Doctors (PBS): "Through intimate stories of families whose lives are being transformed, The Gene Doctors takes viewers to the front lines of a medical revolution. With early successes and new treatments appearing on the horizon, families battling genetic diseases have never had such good reasons for hope."
On Beauty (Kartemquin Films): "The film looks at beauty through the lens of fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who highlights vibrant individuals with genetic conditions. At the center of On Beauty are two of Rick's photo subjects: Sarah, who left public school for homeschool after being bullied so harshly for the Sturge-Weber birthmark on her face and brain; and Jayne, who lives in Eastern Africa where witch doctors hunt people with albinism to sell their body parts and the society is blind to their unique health and safety needs."
Pink and Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer (Pink & Blue Inc.): "The documentary takes a profound look into the BRCA world examining what it is and how this gene mutation puts both women and men at risk for developing numerous cancers. The film highlights the message that men are equally as likely to carry a BRCA gene mutation and this lack of information is deadly."
Genome: Unlocking Life's Code This exhibit is a partnership between the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Interact with the exhibit using the online Library Resources or assemble a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Exhibit. "This free, print-on-demand exhibit consists of graphic panels, interactive media, and a community programming toolkit. It can be adapted to a variety of venues, including community centers, libraries, coffee shops, hospitals, transit hubs, museums, and science centers."