- Each cell contains enough DNA that if we unwound the individual strands and linked them together, it would be six feet long – all squeezed into 0.09 micrometers!
- Since there are about 100 trillion cells in the human body, that means we each contain enough DNA to reach 10 billion miles – the same distance to the sun and back 600 times over!
- According to our DNA sequencing, all human beings are 99.9 percent alike.
- While that may seem nearly indistinguishable, human beings are also 98.8 percent identical to chimpanzees. That means we’re only 1.2 percent genetically different than chimps, despite the fact that our last common ancestor existed 6 million years ago. We’re about the same percentage similar to gorillas, but only 93 percent alike compared to rhesus monkeys.
- But to put those percentages in perspective, human DNA is also 50% identical to the DNA of bananas, and 40% to cabbage.
- Our closest distant relative outside of the invertebrate world of animals is actually the mud worm. It’s true, as human DNA has more similarities with that creature than any other invertebrates.
- Every one of our cells has 3 billion base pairs of DNA, or “chemical letters.” These DNA building blocks are: cytosine (C), thymine (T), guanine (G) and adenine (A).
- If someone sat down to type out all of those letter combinations and typed 60 words per minute for 8 hours a day, it would take them 50 years to complete!
- Each gram of DNA contains the equivalent of 700 terabytes of data. That means that it would take only 2 grams of DNA to store all the digital information in the whole world!
- Have you ever heard of Friedrich Miescher? It’s surprising that it’s not a household name in the pantheon of great scientists, inventors, and visionaries in human history because Miescher was the first man to discover DNA, back in 1869. Maybe Miescher isn’t more famous because it took scientists until 1943 to realize that our genetic information is stored in DNA, not inside proteins.
- Over the centuries and millennia of human evolution, scientists have found that 510 DNA codes have been lost or phased out.
- About 20 percent of the DNA of Neanderthals still exist in human beings today, especially in those not from Africa. In Europe, Neanderthal DNA is still in about 70 percent of the populace. This Neanderthal DNA can be found in keratin, which dictates skin and hair color. Scientists even took DNA from Neanderthal remains 5,300 years old and sequenced it all the way to relatives living today!
- What about twins? Identical twins contain the same genes since they were developed from the same embryo. That means if they commit a crime, the police might not be able to convict one or the other based on DNA evidence alone. However, even twins’ DNA can change over time due to subtle mutations, and even identical twins have slightly different fingerprints because of environmental factors.
- Our cells, and therefore our DNA, are altered and damaged anywhere from 1,000 to 1 million times every single day! The good news is that our bodies have systems to repair damaged DNA as fast as its compromised. But when the repair system fails, such as in the even of cellular death or cancer, our cells can start to misfunction or shut down.
- Our DNA is self-aware? DNA also has the miraculous ability to replicate itself, allowing it to generate an identical copy during cell division.
- In 2013, scientists found a Y chromosome in an African-American man living in South Carolina that was quite remarkable. That chromosome had been passed down perfectly intact for 338,000 years, predating the earliest known fossilized skeletons of the modern human kind. Researchers were able to match his chromosome with that of one found in the remains of people from the Mbo tribe in Cameroon in ancient Africa.
- Will we ever be able to clone ancient dinosaurs from DNA like in the movie “Jurassic Park?” While it may be possible to clone an ancient human being one day, DNA has a half-life of 521 years, which means the oldest animal or human we could clone can’t be older than 2 million years, while dinosaurs roamed the earth 65 million years ago.
- DNA evidence proves that Christopher Columbus was definitely not the first non-native American to “discover” the Americas. In fact, scientists found that Polynesians first visited the Americas in the 13th century, and even reached Antarctica in the year 650 and left DNA evidence, which they described as “a place of bitter cold where rock-like structures rose from a solid sea.”
- Scientists have discovered the molecular precursors of DNA in the center of the Milky Way but that’s not the only DNA in outer space. In fact, the International Space Station that orbits the earth contains an “Immortality Drive”, a device that stores the digital DNA sequence of famous humans like
- Lance Armstrong, Stephen Colbert, Stephen Hawking, Playboy model Jo Garcia, two fantasy authors, pro wrestler Matt Morgan, and others. That way, in case there is a global apocalypse where human beings are wiped out, we’ll still be able to recreate mankind with their DNA.
You may know that DNA is Deoxyribonucleic acid, a molecule that stores our genetic makeup, and is passed from one generation to another. But there are far more fascinating facts about DNA to enlighten, entertain, and awe us. Here are 20 DNA facts to unravel:
Dr. Charles Ward has been coaching chiropractors for 33 years.