2014 DNA Day Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to the 2014 winners and thank you all for participating. Happy DNA Day!

This year ASHG received submissions from students in 39 states and 20 foreign countries, including Turkey, Portugal, Australia, and Nigeria. Asking students to investigate the genetic and environmental components of a complex trait engaged them in deeper thinking about heritability and other influences on human trait development. Many thoughtful and well-written essays were submitted. We would also like to thank the more than 530 genetics experts from the ASHG membership who participated in judging the essays.

2014 Question

Complex traits, such as blood pressure, height, cardiovascular disease, or autism, are the combined result of multiple genes and the environment.  For ONE complex human trait of your choosing, identify and explain the contributions of at least one genetic factor AND one environmental factor.  How does this interplay lead to a phenotype?  Keep in mind that the environment may include nutrition, psychological elements, and other non-genetic factors.  If the molecular or biological basis of the interaction between  the genetic and environmental factors is known, be sure to discuss it.  If not, discuss the gaps in our knowledge of how those factors influence your chosen trait.


2014 Winners

1st Place: Rachel Gleyzer, Grade 10
Teacher: Carol Zepatos
School:Bergen County Academies
Location: Hackensack, NJ

2nd Place: Adesuwa Ero, Grade 12
Teacher: Susan Wall
School: Ashbury College
Location: Ottawa, Canada

3rd Place: Cameron Springer, Grade 12
Teacher: Carol Stapanowich
School: Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Honorable Mentions

Arwa Abdelhamid
Staten Island Technical High School
Staten Island, NY
Teacher: John Davis
Sangho Myung
Montgomery Blair High School
Silver Spring, MD
Teacher: Darcy Sloe
Samantha Burns
Lely High School
Naples, FL
Teacher: Bryan Wallace
Rosie (Alexandra) Nagele
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
Philadelphia, PA
Teacher: Scott Stein
Vivien Chen
Richard Montgomery High School
Rockville, MD
Teacher: Helen Ghent-Paolucci
Allison Rerick
Staten Island Technical High School
Staten Island, NY
Teacher: John Davis
Hussein Elghazaly
El Alsson British International School
Haraniya, Giza, Egypt
Teacher: Wendy Spence
Karl Tayeb
Bergen County Academies
Hackensack, NJ
Teacher: Judith Pinto
Lucas Lin
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Alexandria, VA
Teacher: Laura Locklear
Eytan Weinstein
Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim
Jerusalem, Israel
Teacher: Meira Yan

About the Contest

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on important ideas and issues related to human genetics. Competitive essays are expected to convey substantive, well-reasoned, and evidence-based arguments that demonstrate deep understanding.

Essays are evaluated through three rounds of judging, and every essay is read by a minimum of three judges. Top-scoring essays have typically been scored by a dozen or more judges.

Questions/Comments: Contact dnaday@ashg.org

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