DNA is a long molecule, which carries your unique genetic code and the instructions you need to live, reproduce and develop. This information is passed down from parents to children and is found in every cell. Aside from using DNA to show an existing relationship between a child and a parent, it is often used to diagnose genetic disorders.
Here are 27 interesting facts about DNA you’ve probably never heard before:
- DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.
- You share 99.5% of the same DNA with your child.
- The chimpanzee has 98% of DNA in common with you.
- You share about 40-50% of DNA with a cabbage.
- You share 99% of your DNA with every other person.
- Your DNA can reach from the earth to the sun and back more than 600 times if all the DNA molecules in your body were lined from one end to another end.
- It would take you almost 50 years to type the human genome if you could type 60 words per minute for eight hours a day.
- Your DNA is built with only four building blocks, the guanine, cytosine, thymine and the nucleotides adenine to code all the information that makes you up.
- DNA was discovered in 1869 by Friedrich Miescher. Until 1943, scientists had not understood DNA as the genetic material in cells.
- Genetically, you have more in common with a mud worm than you do with a cockroach, spider or octopus. The mud worm is, therefore, your nearest invertebrate relative.
- The DNA molecule is fragile. Something occurs to it about a thousand times a day to cause errors and damages. Some damage is not repairable, even though there are many repair mechanisms in your body. Therefore, you carry mutations, some of which are helpful, others cause no harm and others can cause diseases. Some of the diseases attributed to these mutations are like Alzheimer’s, cancer and possibly every other genetically predisposed disease.
- In wildlife forensics, DNA is used to hunt poachers and identify endangered species.
- Besides using DNA to confirm paternal relationships and identify criminals (when investigators find sperm, blood or hair at the scene of a crime), DNA is also used to certify and authenticate food such as fine wine and caviar.
- Different samples like urine, cheek cells, blood, hair, sperms etc. can be used to extract DNA.
- Thirteen specific segments of DNA (markers) are usually checked in forensic DNA analysis. The probability for two persons to have the same thirteen markers in their profile is like one in a billion.
- Your risk of a particular disease can be determined through a DNA test. For instance, a higher risk of a number of diseases, breast cancer included, may be associated with a DNA variation or mutation.
- Your environment affects your DNA. Environmental factors are known to turn genes on and off. This is why for instance; some people are hairier or darker than others are.
- Mutations occurring in your body can indicate changes in one DNA block or can involve more than one base. Entire segments of chromosomes can also be affected by mutations
- UV radiation from the sun, chemicals such as drugs and many other things can cause mutations.
- If all the DNA in your body cells were to be unwrapped, you could get to the moon six thousand times.
- A DNA database of all convicted criminals is maintained in many countries, including the UK and the United States.
- The genome is your entire DNA sequence, which can fill two hundred, one thousand pages each, New York City telephone directories.
- DNA is found in all the cells in your body except the red blood cells.
- Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is only passed from mother to child since only eggs have mitochondria, not sperms.
- Except for identical twins who share 100 percent of their genes, a DNA fingerprint is a set of DNA markers unique to an individual.
- Your DNA does not mostly reside in the cell nuclei responsible for hereditary control, but in your mitochondria, the units within cells (organelles), which generate metabolic power/energy.
- The DNA as your genetic blueprint was figured out by bacteriologist Oswald Avery along with his colleagues in the early 1940s.
These interesting facts about DNA give a broad outlook of your biological relevance to nature and creation. They are an eye-opener to the many applications of the DNA science, both in botany and zoology.
Not only do they influence your relations with your fellow humankind, but they also affect the management of the criminal justice systems, health and research. The discovery, structure and function of the DNA are clearly the greatest development modern science continues to grapple with.