This opportunity is open to all students in the United States who are in grades 5 to 12.
A winning essay will be selected for each topic in each grade group. winners and their classes will be invited to participate in a videoconference or teleconference with NASA scientists and/or engineers so the students can have their questions about the moons of Saturn and Jupiter answered by the experts. All international winners of the Scientist for a Day essay contest will have their essays posted on NASA's Solar System Exploration website.
Professor Robin Nelson (Santa Clara University), who was involved in writing the statement, commented, "The AAPA has a responsibility to provide scientifically accurate information to the public about race and racism.
This statement reflects our commitment to engaging in these sometimes difficult conversations." Race is not a biologically meaningful category As the statement discusses, one of the most important insights from studies of human DNA across the world has been that the concept of “race” is not a useful or accurate term to describe patterns of biological variation that exist.
Biological variation—whether it be genetic or in our physical traits—may be used socially and politically for categorizing people (e.g.
Nor does it provide a clear picture of genetic ancestry.” So while people think they're using biology to classify people into races, the traits that we typically consider are arbitrary and socially informed and the patterns in those traits don't map onto racial groups the way people think they do. We are however saying that race is not a useful framework for discussing or investigating human biological variation and continuing to use it stalls science more than it advances it.” Professor Ewan Birney, Director of EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute, who was not involved with writing this statement, commented to me that “It is sadly all too easy to think race is somehow the everyday manifestation of human genetics but the truth is far more complex and interesting.The proposed “Dragonfly” mission is under consideration to return to Titan with a robotic drone. Can students at a Museum, Science Center, Astronomy Club or After-school program participate?The Europa Clipper mission is being built now to return to Europa. Parallel contests are being run in other countries around the world. Yes, but please have your program coordinator contact us at [email protected] for the details on how to submit. No, you have to choose just one moon in your essay. The contest for students in the United States is only accepting essays in English. Yes, but you must indicate the grade level for each student who wrote the essay, and the essay will be judged in the grade category of the oldest student who collaborated on the essay.Six are members of the National Academy of Sciences.We train individuals for academic careers in human and medical genetics using the most advanced concepts and techniques of genetics and cellular/molecular biology.Much of this disconnect is derived from the historical roots of the pseudoscience of race, founded in the so-called Age of Enlightenment, by writers and thinkers, most of whom did not visit the continents or the people they were attempting to categorize.These clumsy, erroneous and judgmental taxonomies stuck and echo into the present.” Ancestry testing and race As I have already discussed in the first post of my series on direct to consumer genetic testing, most people’s understanding of what our genomes can tell us is often influenced by the claims of commercial ancestry companies to “tell you who you are.” And while many of these companies are holding special sales on their tests to commemorate DNA Day, it’s worth noting the AAPA’s caution that these oversimplified claims can reinforce concepts of race as discrete genetic categories: “Genetic ancestry tests can identify clusters of individuals based on patterns of genetic similarity and difference, but the particular clusters we infer depend on the individuals included in the analysis.Today is National DNA Day, a day to commemorate the publication of James Watson and Francis Crick’s famous paper (that included the work of Rosalind Franklin) in 1953 describing the structure of DNA.As we reflect back on the incredible scientific progress that has been made since this paper, one of the most striking developments is how the study of our own genomes has changed our understanding of human variation The American Association of Physical Anthropologists, an organization of scientists dedicated to the study of the biological variation, adaptation, and evolution of humans and our close relatives, has just released a position statement on race and racism.Genetic ancestry tests also tend to equate present-day peoples and contemporary patterns of genetic variation with those that existed in the past, even though they are not identical.In this regard, ancestry tests often oversimplify and misrepresent the history and pattern of human genetic variation, and do so in ways that suggest more congruence between genetic patterns and culturally-defined categories than really exists.” There are many ways to celebrate DNA today, including reading the original paper (it’s only a page long) , extracting DNA with your kids at home , reading award-winning essays submitted to the American Society of Human Genetics by students, or browsing the #DNADay19 hashtag on twitter to see gleeful and geeky tweets by scientists.