The question for this year’s American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) DNA Day Essay Contest is now available. This competition is ideal for AP Biology students (current or former) or research students interning in a lab focused on genetics — especially genetics as it relates to medicine.
Question: In the early 1990s, gene therapy was hailed as a potential treatment or cure for many genetic diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, problems during clinical trials, including the death of a patient due to a fatal immune reaction, forced scientists to re-think their strategies. Recent advances in biology have made gene therapy more promising than ever and expanded the field beyond its original concept of providing an additional, functional copy of a malfunctioning gene to specific cells. Choose one modern example of gene therapy (since 2005), describe the disease or condition researchers are attempting to treat, and explain how the therapy/approach might repair the underlying cause of the disease or condition.
Have a quick read of the 2017 contest rules, rubric, and deadlines before beginning. This contest is open to students in grades 9–12 worldwide. Essays must be written in English and are limited to 750 words, not including references. (Essays must include at least one reference. More than one reference is recommended.) Entries must be authenticated by a teacher. No entries may be submitted without the approval of Ms. Ross. Essays must be submitted electronically on or before March 11, 2017. Essays are expected to be well reasoned arguments indicative of a depth of understanding of the concepts related to the question. Each essay will be read by three judges from the ASHG.