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

Thank you for making this another successful year! We received many submissions from students in 43 U.S. states and 22 non-US countries, including Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia. We would also like to thank the ASHG members who participated in judging the essays!

2018 Question

Traditionally, genetic testing for diagnosis or risk of disease has been done in conjunction with medical professionals, such as genetic counselors. These professionals are experts not only in genetics, but also in counseling patients and family members about the benefits and potential harms of learning about a disease risk. Today, this traditional route is not the only option: direct-to-consumer genetic testing, offered by several companies, does not require a medical professional. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a process by which companies can provide predictive testing for certain disorders, in addition to common traits such as straight or wavy hair.

Do you think medical professionals should be required for all genetic testing, or should consumers have direct access to predictive genetic testing? In defending your answer, use at least one disorder to explore the implications of involving, and not involving, a medical professional such as a genetic counselor.

2018 Winners

Click the names below to view essays.


Diane Zhang Grade 11

Diane Zhang

Teacher: Ms. Stephanie Peborde
School: Fox Lane High School
Location: Bedford, NY


Ilan Bocian Grade 11

Ilan Bocian

Teacher: Mrs. Vickie Bellomo
School: YULA-Boys
Location: Los Angeles, CA


Nadia O'Hara Grade 9

Nadia O'Hara

Teacher: Mrs. Audra Santos
School: Pechersk School International
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Honorable Mentions

Blair Atherton

Home School
Avon, IL
Teacher: Mrs. Tina Atherton

Jaeho Hwang Hwang
Jaeho Hwang

Seoul International School
Seoul, South Korea
Teacher: Mr. Chris Koester

"Amy" Seunghyun Kim

Korea International School, Jeju
Seogwipo-si, South Korea
Teacher: Mr. Michael Palmer

Kenton Kryger

Battle Creek Area Math & Science Center
Battle Creek, MI
Teacher: Mrs. Lindsey Keller

Cindy Li

Smithtown High School East
St. James, NY
Teacher: Ms. Maria Zeitlin

Manali Nayak

Dr. Ninad Sheode's Physics Coaching Class
Pune, India
Teacher: Dr. Ninad Sheode

Fiona Oh

Homestead High School
Cupertino, CA
Teacher: Mrs. Jessica Wakefield

Sarah Weber

Albuquerque Academy
Albuquerque, NM
Teacher: Mrs. Miranda Fleig

Lena Wood

Scarborough High School
Scarborough, ME
Teacher: Mr. Jonathan York

Camille Zywczyk

Palm Beach Central High School
Wellington, FL
Teacher: Mr. William Bartenslager

See where in the world our submissions come from:

2018 DNA Day Entries Map

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