10 Strange Facts About Your DNA

Surprising facts about human DNA that you likely didn't know

Tal Garner
Created by Tal Garner
On Jan 26, 2021

Your DNA makes up who you are as a person, but did you know that what makes you a human... Is also 98% shared with what makes a chimpanzee a chimpanzee? Yeah, weird. Continue reading for 10 strange facts about your DNA!

Hint: we find these facts very useful in winning trivia games and great conversation starters

1

Humans share 98 percent of DNA with primates such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.

Yes, we're here to tell you that humans and apes are pretty much siblings. In fact, humans, chimps and bonobos descended from a single ancestor species that lived approximately seven million years ago... So it's been a while. Nonetheless, as humans and chimps gradually evolved from that common ancestor, the DNA changed too. This is the reason humans and chimps differ in appearance and behavior. Another important idea to note is while we may share most of our genes, the gene's activity can be altered and expressed differently in various amounts. Pretty interesting, huh?

2

It would take about 29 years to type out your whole genetic system.

It turns out the coding to your genetic system is VERY long. So complex that if you sat in front of your computer for over 8 hours a day, typing 60 words a minute, it would take you over 20 years just to get it all out. I don't know about you, but I'll let the scientists stick to this task.

3

We're all 99.9 percent alike.

We may look very different from our neighbors, friends, and even family. There could be no visible similarities between those who surround you. However, of the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, only 0.1% are actually unique to us. This means we're all much more similar to one another than we are different.

4

Your partner can smell your DNA!

Wait, what?! Smell DNA? Yup. Various kissing studies have shown that women are more attracted to the scent of a man with a very different genetic code than her own. More specifically, we know that a difference in DNA increases the chance for healthy children... So people may gravitate toward that DNA attraction subconsciously increasing their chance to have a healthy, happy child.

5

Humans have over 30 trillion cells.

While each human contains a varying amount of cells, it's estimated that we contain over 30 trillion. Who would've thought that 30 trillion of anything was living inside our bodies? Take that number with a grain of salt though, as scientists admit that through their studies, the numbers are constantly changing.

6

DNA is capable of replicating and duplicating itself.

This must occur in order for cell division to be successful in producing new cells. Essentially DNA needs to be copied before cell division so that each new cell receives a full set of instructions.

7

We share about 40 percent of our DNA with bananas.

Scientists who concluded this said to think of the strange fact this way... "What we do for living and what a banana does, there's a lot of things we do the same way, like consuming oxygen. A lot of those genes are just fundamental to life." And while we may share almost half of our genes with bananas, it actually turns out to be only about 1% of our DNA.

8

20 percent of Neanderthal DNA lives on in humans.

It's true! Remember learning about Neanderthals in school? Well turns out people living outside of Africa today have genomes compromsed of 1-4 percent of Neanderthal DNA. This DNA is specifically found in the genes that make keratin, which is a protein that affects human hair and skin. The Neanderthal skin color gene is actually still found in close to 70 percent of Europeans. The most surprising fact about this is scientists have found that the DNA of a dead Neanderthal from 5,300 years ago still has living relatives! Woah.

9

If you receive a stem-cell transplant, you could end up with two different DNA profiles.

Here's how it happens: In bone marrow transplants, doctor uses chemotherapy or radiation to destroy all the recipient's diseased bone marrow, then a donor's healthy marrow is put in its place. Then, the donor's healthy marrow will continue making blood cells that contain the donor's DNA, quite possibly resulting in mixed DNA.

10

All DNA storage is made up of just four building blocks.

While DNA stores all the cool information that makes up any organism, the whole storage space is actually pretty straight-to-the-point. It's made up of just four building blocks, - cytosine (C), thymine (T), guanine (G) and adenine (A). Crazy to think how it all boils down to these four important units. Simple yet elegant!

Did you find these DNA facts strange?

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