Fifty-five years ago the now-ubiquitous double-helixed DNA molecule made its debut on the world stage. In 2003, a group of US scientists and educators declared April 25th National DNA Day by way of commemorating Watson and Crick’s discovery of the molecule and simultaneously uncorking the champagne after the success of the Human Genome Project.

We who love our pets and follow science should also take this time to reflect on the contributions of an Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon and a Boxer dog named Tasha. Their genomes were also fully sequenced so that our feline and canine companions can aid in our own human medical research while advancing theirs. Here's a fun statement on Tasha's evolution:

It’s also interesting to note that today, on National DNA Day 2008, some Florida lawmakers are still working hard on The Teaching of Chemical and Biological Evolution Act, a bill to grant Florida teachers the right to present Intelligent Design and the 10,000-year theory of humanity on par with Darwinism, Watson and Crick and the results of the Human Genome Project.

Now, we never play religion on Dolittler but I guess this post kills the “never” in that clause—if only because some have pitted religion against science in ways that may now affect the way my child is taught his scientific ABC’s.

Sure, I’m all for teaching my son about the full range of beliefs when it comes to religion, politics and culture. But when it comes to science I elected public school for him in part to avoid the religious education I was expected to swallow when I was a kid. Now, it seems as if my local parochial school might’ve been a better option. At least the Pope does Darwin. He's even apologized to Galileo!

Tasha and Cinnamon may never know how they’ve come to be mixed up in this game of molecular roulette and what their DNA means to all of us. But it’s another matter altogether if children of my son’s generation grow up similarly bemused by medicine and science on the power of those who would equate religious belief with the rigorous examination of nature.

PS: On a lighter note, you may choose to celebrate today by ordering one of these cute dog DNA toys: