What is DNA?

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DNA: The Code of the Genes

by Anne Marie Helmenstine PH.D./ThoughtCo

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid codes for your genetic make-up. There are lots of facts about DNA, but here are 10 that are particularly interesting, important, or fun.

Key Takeaways: DNA Facts



  • DNA is the acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid.
  • DNA and RNA are the two types of nucleic acids the code for genetic information.
  • DNA is a double-helix molecule built from four nucleotides: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine (C).
    1. Even though it codes for all the information that makes up an organism, DNA is built using only four building blocks, the nucleotides adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine.
    2. Every human being shares 99% of their DNA with every other human.
    3. If you put all the DNA molecules in your body end to end, the DNA would reach from the Earth to the Sun and back over 600 times (100 trillion times six feet divided by 92 million miles).
    4. A parent and child share 99.5% of the same DNA.
    5. You have 98% of your DNA in common with a chimpanzee.
    6. If you could type 60 words per minute, eight hours a day, it would take approximately 50 years to type the human genome.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Damn good question. My answer would be that DNA is Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance (TEI). Scientific studies involving identical twins have proven that I.Q. levels, personality traits, i.e., habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion, have a genetic basis. There are also examples where organ recipients have taken on traits of the donors. Our DNA is a biological inheritance, a family heirloom. We are the way we are because of our DNA. It’s not a cop out; it’s reality.

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