What is DNA?
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is something that every living thing contains. It is a code that
instructs the cells in our body and tells us about our genetics and characteristics. Every person receives half of their DNA from each of their biological parents. However, every person’s DNA is unique. DNA has a double helix structure. It is made up of two connected strands that are twisted around each other. These two strands are connected by nucleotides which look like the steps of a ladder. There are four different types of nucleotides in DNA. They are Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine. These specific nucleotides connect with each other to form the steps that are seen between DNA strands. Adenine and Thymine always pair together and Guanine and Cytosine always pair together. Although there are only four nucleotides that are seen in DNA, they can make up many combinations. One DNA molecule has thousands of nucleotides. This is why there can be so many different and unique combinations of DNA. The cells and cell components in our body use our DNA to carry out tasks. They are able to read the DNA nucleotides as a code and understand what task they have to carry out. A DNA nucleotide sequence can look something like this: ATG CCT AAA TGT GGG CGA. When the DNA is being read, it is grouped by every three nucleotides. Each group of three nucleotides, such as ATG, is called a codon. In addition, each codon represents a specific amino acid, something that makes up a protein. These proteins which were formed carry out the function that is coded in the DNA. It is important to remember that every single person has unique DNA. The only case where people have the same DNA is for identical twins. Since DNA is mostly unique, it is used to identify people. For example, in many crime scenes, samples of blood or hair are collected for DNA testing. These tests can match the DNA found at the crime scene to a real person who may
be a part of the crime. Our DNA is something that plays a very important role in our body and makes each and every one of us unique.
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