Did you know your body has its own instructions manual and history book? Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is a molecule that contains information about you and all those that came before you! It was discovered in 1869 by a biochemist, Friedrich Miescher. Friedrich was researching white blood cells when he stumbled across a long molecule which is now referred to as DNA. National DNA Day commemorates the day in 1953 when Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and Marice Wilkins published papers on the structure of DNA.
DNA is shaped like a long ladder that is composed of a chain of nucleotides. Like a computer has written code for operating systems, the nucleotides make up a code that dictates your physical characteristics (i.e. hair color and eye color) and propensity for certain health risks. Continued research of DNA has the potential to solve the mysteries behind the existence of life. By understanding DNA, we have a better chance of finding cures to genetic diseases, create longer life spans, and apply the idea of DNA to other things like coding in technology. The possibilities are endless.
Did you know?
Scientists have figured out how to convert digital data (in 1’s and 0’s) into DNA’s A-C-T-G code:
Ideas for teachers:
- Have your students design their own kind of code to store information.
- Have your students research one of the careers in science-related to DNA! Do they know what a Chromosome Counselor does?