25 interesting facts about DNA. Its structure, genes, mutations.
What Exactly is DNA?
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. In 1953, British molecular biologists Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the 3D helical structure of the DNA, known as Double Helix. This was a huge discovery and because of it, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine in 1962 along with physicist Maurice Wilkins “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material.”
Today, police are using DNA that was collected years in crimes that are known as cold cases, and solving them today.
Some interesting facts about DNA:
1. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.
2. DNA is found in all living things and defines a living organism.
3. It was isolated in 1869 by Friedrich Miescher and its structure was figured out by James Watson and Francis Crick. It's a double helix.
4. It's made up of bases, adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G).
5. A always pairs with T and C pairs with G. Hydrogen bonds hold those bases together.
6. The helix forms a ladder that twists to the right.
7. All cells in our body, but the red blood cells, have DNA.
8. Nuclear DNA (also known as chromosomal DNA ) is found in the nucleus of cells.
9. Humans have 46 chromosomes. Each chromosome can have 50 to 250 million base pairs.
10. Our entire DNA sequence is called a genome. Our genome has around 3 billion DNA bases. That would need 3 GB of storage space if we wanted to store each base in a computer.
11. If you unwrap all the DNA you have in all your cells, you could reach the moon 6000 times.
12. Over 99% of our DNA is the same as other humans’.
13. Genes are made of DNA. The average gene is 10.000 to 15.000 bases long.
14. In 2000, a rough draft of the human genome (complete DNA sequence) was completed. In 2003, the final draft of the human genome was completed.
15. It would take a person typing 60 words per minute, eight hours a day, around 50 years to type the human genome.
16. DNA is translated via cellular mechanisms into proteins.
17. Changes in the DNA sequence are called mutations. Many thing can cause mutations, including UV irradiation from the sun, chemicals like drugs etc.
18. Mutations can be changes in just one DNA base but can involve more than one DNA base and entire segments of chromosomes.
19. Genes make up only about 2-3% of our genome.
20. DNA is affected by the environment; environmental factors can turn genes on and off.
21. DNA tests can help you understand your risk of disease. A DNA mutation or variation may be associated with a higher risk of a number of diseases, including breast cancer.
22. DNA tests can help you understand your family history and your ethnic make-up.
23. DNA can be extracted from many different types of samples: blood, cheek cells, urine.
24. Identical twins share 100% of their genes. Siblings share 50% of their genes. A parent and child share 50% of their genes.
25. DNA is used to identify victims of accidents or crime.