Happy National DNA Day!
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Human Genome Project’s completion in 2003 and the discovery of the DNA’s double helix in 1953! It is a day meant to educate and celebrate advances and research in the field of genetics. To celebrate, NxGen MDx put together a list of weird but true facts about DNA.
1. Your DNA could stretch from the earth to the sun and back ~600 times.
If unwound and linked together, the strands of DNA in each of your cells would be 6 feet long. With 100 trillion cells in your body, that means if all your DNA were put end-to-end, it would stretch over 110 billion miles. That’s hundreds of round trips to the sun!
2. We’re all 99.9 percent alike.
Of the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, only 0.1% are unique to us. While that 0.1% is still what makes us unique, it means we’re all more similar than we are different.
3. Genes make up only about 3 percent of your DNA.
Genes are short segments of DNA, but not all DNA is genes. All told, genes are only about 1-3% of your DNA. The rest of your DNA controls the activity of your genes.
4. The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA.
If you could type 60 words per minute, eight hours a day, it would take approximately 50 years to type the human genome.
5. Human DNA is 98% identical to the DNA of chimpanzees.
What’s shocking is that human DNA is 50% identical to the DNA of bananas! You read it correctly! We said BANANAS!
6. Your DNA could tell things about you that you never knew.
Genetics has the power to tell you things you never dreamed of knowing, from just the DNA in your saliva or blood.
With NxGen MDx carrier screening, for example, you can find what variants, or changes in your DNA, you inherited from your parents that could make you a carrier of a genetic condition. Most people who are carriers for genetic conditions have no family history or personal medical history that would indicate they are a carrier. With NxGen MDx carrier screening, you can learn if you are a carrier and are at increased risk to have a child with a genetic condition– all from your DNA!
Other DNA Day activities
● The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is hosting a ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA)’ on Reddit this year on r/science. This AMA will run each weekday from 1 to 3pm Eastern until 4/27. Get more information about the AMA series here!
● Understand how pop culture and genetics merge in NHGRI’s guest speaker‘s talk Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding
● Learn about careers in genetics
● Get online with educational videos, articles, and experiments
● Check out past DNA Day events
Whatever you decide to do, just remember… DNA made this day possible!