Thanks to the popularity of ancestry and other types of at-home kits, like paternity tests, DNA is suddenly a familiar part of our everyday conversations. Often called the “building block of life,” all living creatures—including plants—contain deoxyribonucleic acid, more popularly referred to as DNA. The Human Genome Project estimated that people have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. Although DNA can be a serious scientific subject, aspects of it are fun (and frankly rather amazing) for everyone! Here are 10 fun facts about DNA.
1. 8% of human DNA is now made up of ancient viruses that used to infect us and make us ill.
2. Most of us know that we share 95% of our DNA with some types of primate but did you know we also share 50% of our DNA with bananas?
3. DNA is found in every human cell, and if you unravelled each strand it is nearly 2 meters long. It is amazing that it fits in to 0.09 micrometer of space!
4. If we uncoiled all DNA in a human and put it end to end, it would stretch 10 billion miles. That would be the same as a round trip to Pluto!
5. The DNA in every human cell gets damaged over 100 times a day, however, our bodies have very clever systems in place to act as repairmen.
6. It would take you 50 years to type the entire human genome if you typed at a speed of 60 words-per-minute and worked 8 hours a day, every day.
7. DNA makes up genes, and humans share 99.9% of those genes in common. It’s that .1% that makes each of us unique.
8. DNA has a half-life of 521 years. What this means is that the oldest organism that could be cloned could not be more than 2 million years old. So unfortunately, we could never clone a dinosaur!
9. If you ever receive a stem-cell transplant, you could end up with two different DNA profiles.