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Libraries Offer Insight Into DNA and Health

"DNA Day" programs at Hennepin County Libraries provide tools for learning about your genetics and family health.

How can genetics and knowledge of your family’s health history help you better understand your health risks?

“DNA Day,” a series of eight free programs presented in April and May at Hennepin County libraries in partnership with the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association, will offer insight on hereditary health factors.

Genetic counselors and genetic counseling students, plus an artist who creates art by combining genetic data with imagery, will speak. Topics are prenatal genetics, autism and related diseases, family health history, risk of cancer, cancer genetics, and how art can express scientific concepts.

April 20 is DNA Day to commemorate the April 2003 completion of the Human Genome Project, an international research effort that mapped all genes in human DNA to increase understanding of the role of genetic material in health and disease.

A companion DNA Day book list is available on the Library’s website. Go to www.hclib.org, click on Events & Classes, then select “Book Lists for Library Events” on the right side of the page.

Additional information on the Human Genome Project is available. Click on “Reference & Research.” Under “Subject Guides,” click on “Science,” then “Biology.”

Following are more details about Hennepin County Library’s DNA Day programs. Registration is required and, in some locations, limited. The “Find Your Inner Neanderthal” art program is funded by Minnesota’s Art and Cultural Heritage Fund. For more information, call Johannah Genett at 612-543-8639.

DNA Day: Prenatal Genetics
Eden Prairie Library
Thursday, April 19, 6–7 p.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-6275.
Learn the many ways women and couples can assess their child's health during or prior to pregnancy. A certified genetic counselor will discuss personal or family history risk factors, maternal screening and prenatal testing options. Find related books and more at the Library.
Presented in partnership with Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association.

DNA Day: Genetics of Autism and Related Diseases
Brooklyn Park Library
Saturday, April 21, 2 p.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-6225.
A discussion of the symptoms, genetics and challenges faced by individuals with autism and other related diseases. Find related books and more at the Library.
Presented in partnership with Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association.

DNA Day: Family Health History and the Risk of Cancer

Tuesday, April 24, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-8800.
Knowing your family health history can help you determine if you're at risk for hereditary cancer. Learn from a genetic counselor what questions to ask your relatives when collecting your family history. Find related books and more at the Library.
Presented in partnership with Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association.

DNA Day: Cancer, What Is Your Risk?
Brooklyn Park Library
Wednesday, April 25, 7 p.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-6225.
What is the difference between hereditary and sporadic cancers? What family health factors may indicate hereditary cancer syndrome? Two hereditary cancer syndromes (breast and colon) will be highlighted. Risks, health screenings, what to do if tests come back positive will be addressed. Find related books and more at the Library.
Presented in partnership with Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association.

DNA Day: Why Collect Family Health History?
Minneapolis Central Library
Pohlad Hall
Thursday, April 26, 7–7:45 p.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-8000.
What do you need to know about your family's past that may help you improve your health and your children's future? A genetic counselor from the University of Minnesota will talk about free tools for collecting information and the important questions to ask. Find related books and more at the Library.
Presented in partnership with Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association.

DNA Day: Find Your Inner Neanderthal
Minneapolis Central Library
Pohlad Hall
Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-8000.
Lynn Fellman creates art that combines genetic data with creative imagery. Fellman will discuss basic genetic concepts, how art can uniquely express science concepts, and why many of us may find Neanderthal genetics in our DNA. Q&A session will follow. Find related books and more at the Library.
This project is funded with money from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

DNA Day: Family Health History
Eden Prairie Library
Monday, April 30, 7–8 p.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-6275.
Few people gather family history. Certified genetic counselors will demonstrate how to use the surgeon general’s Family Health Portrait Tool to gain valuable information useful to you, your family and your physician. Find related books and more at the Library.
Presented in partnership with Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association.

DNA Day: Cancer Genetics

Tuesday, May 1, 7–8 p.m.
Register Online or call 612-543-8800.
Inherited conditions increase the occurrence of specific cancers. Learn what to look for in your family history and whether your family will benefit from increased screening and cancer prevention. Also covered: genetic counseling, testing and how to collect your family history. Find related books and more at the Library.
Presented in partnership with Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association.

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