Feb 8, 2020

Mind-Boggling Facts on Your DNA

Genevieve Montague

he universe is a place of overwhelming, endless wonder. Our true knowledge of it and how it came to be is so limited that we can only propose fantastic scientific theories that look to impose some sense of order on this creation.

In the big scheme of the sheer vastness of this incredible universe, we humans are insignificant when you come to think about it.

On the one hand, this is certainly true when you are talking big picture. But when you take the time to break down exactly who we are and how we are composed, things get fascinating too.

To Infinity and Beyond

Okay, infinity by definition cannot be reached but if you unfurled all of the DNA in your body, it would stretch out for an incredible distance of 10 billion miles.

To put this into context, the sun is a mere 93 million miles away. This means that your DNA would reach to the sun and back over 600 times.

The Sun — Photo Via Astronomer Photo of the Day

The math of how your DNA would reach so far works out a little bit like this:

  • Each human cell contains around 6 feet of DNA.
  • In your body, there are at least 10 trillion cells.
  • This equates to around 6 trillion feet or around 10 billion miles.

So we have this incredible amount of DNA within us all, but even though it would be so long if unfurled, you would still need very good eyes to see it.

One cell is 6 feet long but only 50 trillionths of an inch wide.

DNA Helix 2 — Photo Via Signage

More DNA Facts

  • The animals with which we are most similar to based on our DNA are chimps, gorillas, and orangutans. If our DNA was compared side by side, there would be a 96% match. While this may not be massively surprising given what we have been taught about evolution, we also share 50% of our DNA with bananas. And 70% with slimy slugs.
We share 50% of our DNA with a banana — Source
Chimps share 96% of our DNA — Photo Via NewScientist
  • We all like to think that we are unique individuals but that is pretty much blown out of the water when you take a look at the makeup of the human genome. 99.9% of the DNA in all humans is identical. This minuscule 0.1% difference in us accounts for the reasons why we have different skin, hair, and eye color. Scientists believe it is also the key to helping us understand the causes of diseases.
  • The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA. If a person desired to type out his or her personal genome, it would take them 50 years to do so. All of the letters produced in this act would reach a height 7,000 times higher than the Empire State Building.
  • Octopus are able to self-edit their own genes. This is a touchy subject in the human race but some tools have been developed which can alter human genes in order to prevent some inherited diseases.
  • In case any aliens bump into the International Space Station, they will come across an interesting collection of stored human DNA. The Immortality Drive holds the DNA of an eclectic selection of earthlings, including Stephen Hawking, Lance Armstrong, Stephen Colbert, a Playboy bunny, a venture capitalist, a pro wrestler, and a musician, amongst others.
Human Genome — Source

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