DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the molecule that contains all the instructions for building and running your body. It’s found in every cell in your body, and it’s what makes you unique. And it has a famous ‘Double Helix’ shape.
It is made up of four different building blocks called nucleotides. These nucleotides are arranged in a long chain, like a twisted ladder (as you can see in the picture we included here). The order of the nucleotides is what determines your genetic code.
Your genetic code tells your body how to make all the different proteins that you need. Proteins are essential for everything from building muscle to fighting off infection.
DNA is so important that it’s sometimes called the code of life. It’s what makes you who you are, and it’s what determines all of your physical traits, from your hair colour to your eye colour to your height.
Here are some interesting facts about DNA:
- DNA is so long that if you unravelled it all, it would stretch for over 100 billion miles!
- Almost 99.9% of human DNA is the same in everyone. The remaining 0.1% is what makes us all unique.
- Humans share about 96% of our DNA with chimpanzees. That means that we’re more closely related to chimpanzees than we are to bananas, with whom we only share about 60% of our DNA.
- DNA can be damaged by things like UV radiation and smoking. This damage can lead to cancer and other diseases.
Scientists are still learning about DNA all the time. It’s an amazing molecule that holds the secrets of life.