Deoxyribonucleic Acid is known as DNA. It is the genetic code that determines all the attributes of a living thing. To sum it up, your DNA is something that makes you.
You get your DNA from your parents, nobody else in the world can have the same DNA as you unless you have a clone.
Let’s find out more about what actually DNA is. Let begin with first Structure of DNA.
Structure of DNA
It is imperative to know the structure of the DNA so that you understand it completely.
It begins with Nucleotides:
DNA is made of four types of nucleotide:
A nucleotide is a molecule made up of a phosphate group, a sugar group, and a nitrogen base.
DNA has a double helix shape, which is like a ladder twisted into a spiral. Each step of the ladder is a pair of nucleotides.
The shape of DNA is something that you must have seen in pictures or in movies. It is quite well-known.
Adenine (A) and thymine (T) can pair up because they make two hydrogen bonds, and cytosine (C) and guanine (G) can pair up to make three hydrogen bonds. Although the bases always are in fixed pairs, these pairs can come in any order. Like this, it writes 'codes' out of the 'letters' which are the bases. These codes contain the message that tells the cells what to do.
Discovery of DNA
DNA was first observed by a German biochemist named Frederich Miescher in 1869. But for many years, researchers did not realize the significance of this molecule. Later in 1953, James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin comprehended that the structure of DNA is a double helix, which could carry biological information.
In 1962, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their significant research and molecular study.
DNA contains a person’s information about their heritage, and can sometimes reveal whether they are at risk for certain diseases. DNA tests are used for a variety of reasons, including to diagnose genetic disorders, to examine whether a person is at risk for a genetic disease, etc.
New research on DNA
DNA research has lead to some interesting, and valuable findings in the last few years. For example, a 2017 study published in the journal Science found that random mistakes in DNA, not heredity or environmental factors, accounts for two-thirds of cancer mutations in cells.
Such studies and new research have helped to understand DNA better and what advantages of having more information on DNA can really have.
The more we understand DNA the more we get to know about human origin and heritage.
Few Interesting Facts about DNA
According to a Harvard study, a single gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data in totality.
Due to the use of nuclear weapons in World War II, people born after 1955 are found with traces of radioactive carbon in their DNA.
Genetic screening of the genome can help to identify the risk of having a disease.
DNA analysis is used validate foods like caviar and wine.
Humans have 94%-98% genetic similarity with chimpanzees.