With the awareness of DNA testing for ancestry and other tests like fitness, skin care, nutrition and more, the field of DNA has finally captured the attention of people all around the world. Home DNA paternity test kits have been available in online and retail stores from a long time but now a day, you can collect your DNA sample at home, send your sample and find about in few weeks about your ancestral history and other results like effect of nutrients on your body, sensitivity of your skin and best exercises for you. You can also determine parentage of your mixed dog’s breed or genetic health of your cat. The applications of DNA analysis have been thriving with innumerable prospects.
Many of us might not know what DNA is and how it works; here are 10 helpful facts about DNA for you:
1) DNA means deoxyribonucleic acid and it is the basic messenger of creation in human body.
Specific DNA sequences send signals to proteins with instructions to perform tasks like “making of a fingernail.” Every species has unique DNA and that’s why humans make other humans, daisies create daisies and kangaroos produce other kangaroos.
2) DNA consists of sugars, bases and phosphates.
The bases in DNA namely adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine(C) are chemical bases and they pair with each other to form base pairs. Each base is connected to sugar and phosphate molecules forming a ‘nucleotide’ which are the basic components of DNA.
3) DNA is present in every living thing.
All plants and animals have DNA found in the nucleus of their cells and also in mitochondria. Each human cell may have 10000 genes made from DNA which are the building blocks of life.
4) The structure of DNA is a double helix and it looks like a spiral staircase or ladder.
Each strand of DNA has an appearance of a twisting ladder with sugar and phosphate molecules forming its sides and base pairs forming the steps. The order of steps or base pairs helps in determining the DNA codes for different species.
5) Humans have 46 chromosomes.
Each cell of human beings has 23 pairs of chromosomes, out of which 22 pairs look the same for both females and males. The sexes are determined by the last pair. Women have two X chromosomes i.e. XX whereas males have one X and one Y chromosome i.e. XY.
6) Genes are found in DNA which is contained in the chromosomes.
Many people get confused between genes and chromosomes. Genes are made up of DNA and the extremely tight bundles of DNA are called chromosomes. In other words, DNA form genes and genes form chromosomes.
7) The number of chromosomes differ from species to species.
The number of chromosomes differs in animal and plant kingdoms. For example, hermit crabs have 254 chromosomes, horses have 64, and potatoes have 48. The thing that matters the most is the information contained on chromosomes not the number.
8) DNA is inherited from our parents.
We inherit 50% of our DNA from our biological mother and the other 50% from our father. Sibling’s share 50% of each other’s DNA. We inherit 25% DNA from our grandparents.
9) Identical twins share identical DNA profiles.
Apart from exception of a few mutations, DNA profiles between identical twins are hard to distinguish from one another because when a single egg splits into two; both embryos share 100% of the same DNA.
10) DNA can be used to identify people and to establish paternity of a child because of its uniqueness for each person.
DNA is unique for each person, with the exception of identical twins. That’s why DNA testing is widely used in law enforcement, paternity testing and Lifestyle analysis like ancestry and skin care tests. DNA paternity test establishes biological relationship between the father and child and if legally done, its test results are used in honorable courts while making important family law decisions.
The bottom line is that in this age of DNA science, the related applications and discoveries of DNA are growing at a tremendous rate and its possibilities are going to be countless in the coming years.
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