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World DNA Day

Pushpa Gujral Science City organized a webinar at the occasion of World DNA Day to mark the discovery of the double helix structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953.Giving Introductory remarks at the occasion, Dr. Neelima Jerath  Director General, Pushpa Gujral Science City said that the discovery of DNA marked a milestone in the history of science and gave rise to modern molecular biology, which is largely concerned with understanding how genes control the chemical processes within. Further, understanding the structure and function of DNA has helped revolutionise the investigation of disease pathways, assess an individual's genetic susceptibility to specific diseases, diagnose genetic disorders, formulate new drugs, reveal genetic makeup of a person through DNA fingerprinting used as evidence in courts, as well as, to look for cures for various diseases. The day celebration is an opportunity to learn about the latest advances in genomic research and explore what it meant for our life, she added. Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh was the key speaker at the occasion. Delivering his talk on “DNA: The molecule of life” said that DNA is a type of chemical code that contains instructions; known as genes, for how the body and all its different parts grow, develop, function, and maintain themselves. The discovery of DNA has radically changed the way we breed and utilise crops and the means by which we recognize and protect our plant biodiversity. It has accelerated our ability to breed crops with desirable traits such as disease resistance, cold and drought tolerance. Further, Human Genome Project -an international research project that accurately determined the sequence of 3 billion nucleotide base pairs and mapping ofall the genes found in the human genome has enabled to search for genes linked to different types of disease, understand inherited disorders and their treatment, he added. Dr. Rajesh Grover, Director, Pushpa Gujral Science City delivering vote of thanks said that the importance of DNA discovery in the rapidly developing field of vaccination in terms of ongoing pandemic cannot be overlooked, since, a novel DNA-based vaccine was available now that could provide protection against existing variants of corona virus. The webinar was attended by more than 150 participants comprising students, teachers and general public from Punjab and Himachal.