Friday, April 19, 2013

April 19 - DNA Day

Today commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, as well as the discovery of DNA's double helix! DNA Day is a great day to learn more about genetics and genomics!

Opening to the public in June, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC will be launching a high-tech, high-intensity exhibition, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the completion of the human genome sequence - the genetic blueprint of the human body. Check it out here:

Today is also National Day of Silence, National Hanging Out Day, and Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- Captain James Cook caught his first sight of Australia in 1770
- Clashes between British troops and colonial militia at Lexington and Concord, Mass, initiated the American Revolution in 1775
- The federal government outlawed the potlatch ceremony of BC's Aboriginal peoples in 1884, bowing to pressure from missionaries
- Roland Michener, Governor General of Canada, was born in Lacombe in 1900
- Fire broke out on Wellington Street and spread across downtown Toronto in 1904, destroying 98 buildings over 7.7 hectares. Firefighters arrived from as far away as Buffalo, New York.
- Tom Longboat of Canada won the Boston Marathon in record time of 2:24:24 in 1907
- Last Post Imperial Naval and Military Contingency Fund was inaugurated to provide an honourable funeral and burial and a granite grave marker for indigent veterans in 1909
- Also in 1909, Joan of Arc received beatification
- Alberta women won the rights to vote and to hold provincial office in 1916
- Shirley Temple appeared in her 1st movie, "Stand Up & Cheer" in 1934
- Playwright Sharon Pollock, the first female artistic director of a major theatre in western Canada, was born in Fredericton in 1936
- Sally Ride was announced as the 1st woman astronaut in 1982
- Gregory Robertson performed a 200-mph free fall to save an unconscious skydiver in 1987 (talk about going the "extra mile")
- Fidel Castro resigned from the Communist Party of Cuba's Central Committee in 2011, after 45 years of holding the title

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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