When you look in the mirror all that you see staring back at you is thanks to your DNA. That honey blonde hair that glistens in the sun. Those sparkling blue eyes that mimic the vast blueness of the ocean. That freckle just above your lips. Everything that you see is a result of your specific DNA.
Deoxyribonucleic acid, more commonly known as DNA, is present in nearly all living things. DNA is the genetic code that determines all of the characteristics of a living thing. It’s like the software installed in a computer telling what specifications are allowed in the programming. DNA is your software that holds the secrets to all that we are or may become. As if that weren’t exciting enough, read on to find out seven fantastically fun facts about DNA.
1. If you were to line up all of the DNA molecules that are inside of your body from end to end they would reach from the Earth all the way to the Sun and back again over 600 times.
2. You share approximately 95% of your DNA with primates. This is where science links humans back to chimpanzees. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, you also share over 60% of your DNA with bananas and over 40% with the common cabbage.
3. 99.9% of DNA found in humans is identical. All of the things that make you an exceptionally unique individual is held within 0.1% of your DNA coding.
4. To date, 8% of your DNA contains ancient viruses that previously would have infected and killed you. Thankfully, evolution has eliminated the risk of these fatal viruses.
5. A bone marrow transplant, a treatment procedure for some cancer patients, has the potential to create two completely different DNA profiles within one person.
6. In 1869 a man by the name of Friedrich Miescher first discovered DNA. It wasn’t until 1943 that scientists understood that DNA was the genetic material in cells. Before this time it was believed that proteins were the storage bins for genetic information.
7. Typing at a speed of 60 words per minute for eight hours every day, it would take you 50 years to type out the entire human genome.
As you look in the mirror at your hair, your eyes, your freckles, and all that you are you can see the marvelous result of millions of molecules of your DNA at work and smile, knowing you didn’t end up being a banana.