Have you ever wanted to know some amazing facts about DNA? Well you’re in luck because in this article, we will be sharing not one, not ten, but 25 facts about DNA. You might have already known some of those or not but either way, if you are interested in the molecule of life i.e. DNA, then you should read the rest of the post.
DNA contains all the instructions on how a living organism will grow up, develop, and even behave in their lifetime. You can say it is the genetic blueprint of any living cellular organisms.
Want to know more? Then let’s start the list of some fun and amazing facts about DNA
Amazing facts about DNA #1 What is DNA
Simply put, DNA is a complex molecule or a nucleic acid. And, it bears the genetic code or the hereditary material of all kinds of organisms.
DNA stands for ‘Deoxyribonucleic Acid’. DNA is not only present in humans but also any other organisms including plants, animals, bacteria, archaea, and protists, etc.
#2 Where DNA Exists
DNA is found in each of the cells of any cellular organisms and some viruses. To be more precise, DNA resides inside the nucleus of each of the cells. So, if it is a living organism with cells, you will find DNA inside the cells of that organism.
And, this type of DNA is called ‘nuclear DNA’. However, Mitochondria can also contain a certain amount of DNA. In that case, it is known as ‘mtDNA’ or ‘Mitochondrial DNA’.
#3 The Function of DNA
DNA is very crucial for all types of living organisms. The primary role of DNA is to store information for the long-term. But what information does it carry? Interestingly, it contains all the information and instructions to build and maintain a living being.
It has the information on how the organism (that contains the DNA) will survive, develop, and reproduce in its lifetime. Also, our cells need proteins to function properly. And DNA is responsible for producing that protein as well. However, the main function of the DNA is to bear the hereditary information of every cellular organism.
#4 Discovery of DNA
It is widely regarded that ‘James Watson’ and ‘Francis Crick’ from the USA and UK respectively have discovered DNA prior to anyone. However, interestingly, the discovery of DNA goes a long way back.
Interestingly, it was ‘Johann Miescher’, a chemist from Switzerland, who actually was the first person in history to experiment with DNA back in 1860. While experimenting on white blood cells, he identified a new substance which in fact was DNA. And he named the newly discovered substance as ‘nuclein’.
Unfortunately, he didn’t realize that he had discovered the molecule of life at that time. And, after him, there were a number of scientists all around the world who worked on discovering DNA. And, lastly, it was ‘James Watson’ and ‘Francis Crick’ in 1953 came out with the double-helix model of DNA.
#5 Why DNA is the Hereditary Material?
As previously mentioned, DNA actually contains all the hereditary information of a living organism. Now, the term ‘Heredity’ refers to the passing of characteristics of one living organism to another.
Typically, a child will bear a lot of similar characteristics -both physical and mental- to her/his parents or other relatives. And, it actually depends on the DNA as DNA passes these characteristics from one to another. That is why DNA is known as the hereditary material.
#6 DNA Mutations
Our DNA can be very fragile in certain cases. So, DNA can be damaged or changed hundreds of times every day. This is called a DNA mutation.
This process is both helpful and harmful. However, DNA also has its own repair mechanism. In most cases, DNA repairs itself. But, there a small percentage of DNA mutations that can induce disorders.
And, these are known as genetic disorders. For instance, ‘Cystic Fibrosis’, ‘Color-blindness’, and ‘Sickle Cell Anemia’, etc. are examples of genetic disorders. On the other hand, most of the DNA mutations don’t have any impact on the organism.
#7 Impact of Environmental Factors on DNA
You might not know it but many environmental factors have a severe impact on DNA. Matter of fact, because of both internal and external environmental impacts, DNA mutations can happen.
DNA can be affected if you smoke, or take a certain type of drug, or get exposed to UV rays, or exposure to toxins could be bad for DNA as well. Over time, such impacts might give rise to genetic diseases to an organism.
#8 Animals with Almost Similar DNA to Humans
Do you know which animals share almost the same DNA with us? According to various reports, chimpanzees and bonobos are our closest biological living relatives. Interestingly, they have 98.7% similar DNA with humans. Interesting, isn’t it?
#9 Number of DNA bases in Humans
All the information on our DNA is stored as codes that are composed of 4 chemical bases. These are called ‘Adenine (A)’, ‘Guanine (G)’, ‘Cytosine (C)’, and ‘Thymine (T)’. Amazingly, there are about 3 billion DNA bases are in the human DNA.
#10 All Humans are over 99.9 alike
Now, you know that human DNA contains about 3 billion bases. These chemical bases actually contain all the genetic information. Believe it or not, almost 99.9% of these DNA bases are similar to all the humans in this world. That means as humans, we share about 99.9% of our DNA with each other. Now think about how much of a 0.1% difference can make!
#11 All the DNA of your Body
The diameter of the solar system is about 287 billion kilometers or 178 billion miles. Now, if you could stretch the DNA from each of your cells it would be about 2 meters or 6.5 feet across.
Now, if you could stretch all the DNA on your body, then the diameter of all of your DNA would be twice the diameter of our solar system.
#12 DNA vs. Gene
Most of the time, the terms DNA and gene are used interchangeably. However, both these things are actually pretty different.
In short, DNA contains the genes or you could also say that genes are a small part of the DNA. Genes determine how every living being will develop in its lifetime or what type of fundamental traits the living organisms will inherit from their parents.
It also decides what traits the living organism will pass to its offspring. This is the main function of the gene. However, as DNA contains the genes and a lot of other important materials, DNA has a lot of other functions as well.
#13 Red Blood Cells & DNA
The ‘nuclei’ of the cell contains DNA. However, as red blood cells mature, they usually lose the nuclei. As a result, mature red blood cells don’t have any DNA. That implies that the white blood cells actually contain the DNA on your blood.
#14 DNA vs. Modern Storage System
Our technology has improved a lot over the last few decades. Nowadays, we have high-end data storage systems. Also, most of the data storage drives are getting smaller and smaller. However, in terms of data storage, there is no competition with DNA. Reportedly, you can store about 700 terabytes of data on only a single gram of DNA. Astonishing, isn’t it?
#15 The Human Genome Project
‘The Human Genome Project’ is a megaproject that was a collective effort from various countries all over the world. In fact, it is considered as the biggest biological project (collaborative) in the world.
The main objective of this project was to map and identify all the human genes and determine the chemical base pairs of human DNA all over the world. The project began in 1990 and completed in 2003.
#16 Findings from the Human Genome Project
The 13-year long project was a success. Due to this project, we have found out a lot of new information on DNA. Some of the most notable findings of this project are…
- Scientists found out that humans have almost the same range of protein-coding genes compared to other mammals. It is known that there are about 22,300 such protein-coding genes in humans
- They also found that our genome contains substantially more segmental duplications of DNA
- It will also help in finding the specific DNA that is responsible for several genetic disorders
#17 The First Cloned Animal
You might be family with ‘Dolly the Sheep’. She was the first cloned mammal in the world. She was cloned from an adult cell and born in 1996. However, Dolly might be the first mammal to be cloned, but she was not the first animal to be cloned.
Matter of fact, the first-ever cloned animal in the world was a tadpole. It was done in the 1950s. For the record, ‘Dolly the Sheep’ died back in 2003.
#18 DNA samples of Famous People are Stored in the ISS
There is a memory device named the ‘Immortality Drive’ that is now on the International Space Station. Interestingly, this device contains DNA sequences (fully digitized) of some famous peoples from various backgrounds. The goal of this ‘Immortality Drive’ is to safeguard human DNA in a safe place.
Thus, these can be used in any global catastrophes that should occur. As a result, these DNA samples are kept in the International Space Station (ISS). The ‘Immortality Drive’ has the DNA samples of Stephen Hawking, Stephen Colbert, Lance Armstrong, and more.
#19 Genetic Similarity in Cheetahs
Did you know that Cheetahs are much inbred? Because of this, they are almost identical genetically. You will find almost 100 percent similarity in the DNA of Cheetahs regardless of the region where they come from.
Researches show that there was an ice age about 10 thousand years ago. And, during that time, Cheetah population dropped to only 7 individual. As a result, these cats have lost their genetic variability. That puts the Cheetahs at a higher risk of extinction.
#20 Genome Editing in Human
Genome editing or gene editing is a newly introduced methodology. Normally, the complete set of DNA on our body is called the genome. With the genome editing technology, we can modify, delete, replace, or insert DNA in the genome.
And this technology is being used to treat various kinds of genetic disorders in humans. However, genome editing technology has a long way to go.
#21 Octopus and Genome Editing
We might have been trying to figure out different ways to edit the DNA. And, DNA editing technology is still a new chapter in human history. However, octopus, cuttlefish, squid, etc. can actually edit their RNA on their own in order to adapt to the environment. However, how do these cephalopods edit their genes, is still a mystery.
#22 Problems with DNA Evidence
You should already be familiar with DNA evidence. Whenever a crime occurs, you would notice that the law enforcement departments try to take some DNA samples from the crime scene to track down the actual culprit.
However, there’s a caveat here. DNA evidence can be altered or corrupted. And, over time, DNA evidence can be deteriorated automatically.
Even, researchers can make mistakes in interpreting the samples. As a result, it is not a trustworthy methodology to track criminals. In fact, due to the characteristics of this methodology, anyone from a total stranger to a sibling of the original criminal can be convicted wrongly.
#23 DNA Ancestry Tests
DNA ancestry tests are new trends. We see that almost everybody is jumping on to test their ancestry. However, reports suggest that these tests are not always accurate.
To prove whether these tests are accurate or not there have been tests on several triplets and quadruplets. And the results showed that the siblings had different ancestors. And you know that this is not quite possible.
#24 Identical Twins
You might already know that identical twins share the same DNA code with one another. However, according to some new researches, it has been proven that although they share the same genetic code, they don’t have 100% the same DNA.
#25 Rosalind Franklin and DNA
We all know that ‘James Watson’, ‘Maurice Wilkins’ and ‘Francis Crick’ discovered the double-helix model of DNA. However, behind the scene, there was ‘Rosalind Elsie Franklin’, an English X-ray crystallographer and chemist, whose data and image actually contributed to the discovery of the structure of DNA.
However, her contributions to this vital discovery were not appreciated during her lifetime. But without ‘Rosalind Franklin’, it might not have been possible for ‘James Watson’, ‘Maurice Wilkins’ and ‘Francis Crick’ to discover the double-helix model of DNA.
Conclusion Cool Facts about DNA
DNA is the fundamental building block of any living organism. In this post, we have tried to share both common and uncommon facts about DNA. We hope you have learned a lot from this post above. If you have liked the post, you can share it with others. On top of this, you can also read our post on facts about mold.
So have you learned any new facts about DNA from this post? Which one was your most favorite fact about DNA mentioned above? You can tell us by commenting in the comment section below!