Tag Archives: genetic twins

5 Amazing Facts About Your Genes and DNA

14 Jul

1. You are a Mutant!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle DNA

The average person is born with 60 mutations in their DNA from their parents.  These kinds of mutations in DNA are thought to be largely responsible for the evolution of all species on Earth over millions of years.

As you age, environmental factors like UV rays from sunlight, radiation from x-rays and other medical procedures, and probably talking too much on your cell phone, cause additional mutations in the DNA, furthering your chances of one day becoming one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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2. You can be your own Twin.

Chimerism you can be your own twin

There is a way for you to have 2 different sets of DNA in your body.  It is called Chimerism.  When a pregnancy starts out as a set of twins, one of the twins is often absorbed into the cells of the other, and only one child is born. Sometimes the absorbed twin’s cells with slightly different DNA keep dividing, and they remain in your system.

In 2002, a woman named Lydia Fairchild took a DNA test as part of an application process for a welfare program, but when the results came back it showed that she was not the mother of her children!

The court wanted to prosecute her for fraud even though hospital records showed that she gave birth to the children.  She was eventually able to prove that she was affected by chimerism and had two sets of DNA in her body.  She was actually her own twin.

(PUBLIC ADVISORY: If you begin to grow a second head, please call a real doctor for actual medical advice!)

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3. DNA is right handed.

DNA is right handed

The ladder-like structure of DNA usually twists to the right.  This twist makes DNA’s shape asymmetrical.  If you try to superimpose the mirror image of DNA onto itself, it will not fit. Just like your right and left hand.

There are forms of DNA that have been discovered to have other shapes, for example there occasionally arises a left-handed form of DNA that scientists have called “Z-DNA”.  (Fortunately, Z does not mean zombie, however it is only a matter of time until a comic book writer uses it that way.)  It seems to occur briefly during biological activities such as DNA transcription.

Most scientists believe that DNA randomly arose as a right handed structure, and all DNA that has evolved since has had to follow that structure. DNA’s right-handedness may also be due to the Earth’s natural rotation, early human tire swing experimentation, or because our DNA is just too lazy to be ambidextrous.

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4. Your DNA can reach to the stars.

Your DNA Can Reach to the Sun and back

If you unraveled the DNA in a single cell in your body it would be about 6 feet long.  You have around 50-100 TRILLION cells in your body.

If you put all the DNA molecules from every cell in your body together they would reach to the sun and back numerous times.  (some calculate as many as 600 times to the sun and back!)

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5. There is MORE bacterial DNA in your body than your own DNA.

human body has more bacteria dna

Believe it or not, there are about 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than your own cells.  That’s like 500-1000 Trillion bacteria cells floating around your body. That means there’s more DNA from bacteria inside you than human DNA.

Bacteria are super, super small, about 10 to 20 times smaller than a human cell, so you don’t really notice them.   1-3% of your body weight is actually bacteria, which will soon lead to an anti-bacterial weight-loss challenge.  (You heard it here first!)

Don’t freak out though – a lot of that bacteria is helpful and necessary for many bodily functions.  As for the rest of it… remember to wash you hands before you eat.

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