Strange Humans

Interesting Facts About DNA

The molecule responsible for storing information about the genetic makeup of an organism is called deoxyribonucleic acid or commonly known as DNA. Over the years, scientists have discovered some unbelievable facts about our DNA. Here are some of the interesting DNA facts that will amaze you.

DNA Strand

  • If your DNA would be unwound and linked together, it could stretch from the earth to the sun and back for about 600 times. Having 100 trillion cells in your body, it means that if all your DNA would be linked together end-to-end, it would stretch over 110 billion miles!
  • Only about 3 percent of your DNA is made up of genes. When we talk about DNA, one of the first things we think about our genes. But genes are only short segments of DNA which are only about 1 to 3 percent of it and the rest of your DNA controls the activity of your genes.
  • We are all 99.9 percent alike. Only 0.1 percent are unique to us of the 3 billion pairs in the human genome. Though that 0.1 percent makes us unique, we are still more similar than we are different.
  • The human genome contains three billion pairs of DNA but only has four building blocks. The rungs on the ladder-shaped molecules are made of bases – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). They are locked together in pairs with hydrogen bonds. The interesting part is that they pair up in a very specific way such as A always pairs with T, and C always pairs with G.
  • Humans share about 40 to 50 percent identical DNA with cabbages. Yes, cabbages, the green leafy vegetable we eat!
  • Aside from cabbages, the human DNA is 50 percent identical to the DNA of bananas as well. Yes, that right, bananas!
  • One single gram of DNA can hold an amazing 700 terabytes of data! Meaning, if we want to store all the digital information in the world, we only need 2 grams of DNA.
  • Today, eight percent of human DNA is made of ancient viruses used to infect humans.
  • Throughout the process of human evolution, scientists have found that a total of 510 DNA codes have been lost.
  • Milky Way, the center of our galaxy, contains molecular precursors of DNA.
  • Every single day, the DNA in every cell of the human body is damage one thousand to one million times. But our body has an elaborate system of repairing the damaged DNA constantly. However, when the repairing mechanism fails, cellular death or cancer formation may take place.
  • If someone types at a speed of 60 words per minute and works 8 hours a day, it will take him 50 years to type the entire human genome.
  • According to scientists, mud worms are the closest genetic relative humans have from the world of invertebrates.
  • DNA was first discovered in 1869 by Friedrich Miescher. And it was only in 1943 when scientists discovered that genetic information is stored in DNA. Before that, they believed genetic information was stored in proteins.
  • Based on researches, DNA has a half-life of 521 years. It means that the oldest animal or organism which can be cloned back to life cannot be older than 2 million years. Therefore, it’s really impossible to replicate dinosaurs because they went extinct 65 million years ago.
  • DNA can duplicate itself. It is capable of making a copy of itself and it is essential during cell division.
  • DNA evidence suggests that Polynesians were the first people to reach the New World or America and not Columbus. Some stories even tell that Polynesians first visited Antarctica around the year 650.
  • The Sun’s UV light can cause damage to DNA as well as transcription error and other various factors. Our body has mechanisms which can reverse these damages but not all damages can be repaired. Unrepaired damages are nothing but mutations, therefore, we almost always carry mutations, some are bad, and some are good.
  • If a person undergoes a bone marrow transplant, he may or may not have DNA of the donor. The recipient will not have foreign DNA in most cases.
  • There is a memory device which orbits Earth and it’s called the Immortal Drive. This device is inside the International Space Station. It contains a digitalized DNA sequence of Stephen Colbert, Lance Armstrong, Stephen Hawking, and others. It is an attempt to preserve the human race if ever there’ll be a global catastrophe.

Some of these facts are weird and some are shocking as well. After learning about these facts, we can say that our DNA is truly amazing.

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