DNA is the building block comprised of human genetic material, governing our appearance and to some degree our behavior and intelligence. Yet there are some little-known facts about DNA that may surprise you. We’ll detail our top 6 below.
1. Humans and chimpanzees share 98% of their DNA
As our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, chimpanzees are more akin to us than we may have initially thought. Certainly, when observing chimps in the wild, the similarities are obvious – they demonstrate many human-like behaviors as well as superior problem-solving skills.
2. The human genome is complex. Very complex
If you spent 24 hours a day typing it out at 60 words per minute, it would take over 16 years to complete.
3. DNA is prone to change
A delicate molecule, DNA is subject to change on average a thousand times per day. These are what we refer to as “mutations” – some are beneficial, some have little or no effect, and others can be malignant. For instance, a DNA error can cause uncontrolled cell growth associated with tumors and cancer.
4. Humans and cabbage share 40-50% of their DNA
While on the surface it would seem we have nothing in common with a leafy green vegetable, DNA analysis suggests otherwise. So spare a thought for that poor, nutritious distant cousin the next time you’re chowing down on some cabbage.
5. DNA was first discovered in 1869
Friedrich Miescher, a Swiss physician and biologist, is credited with the discovery of DNA in 1869. It would not be until 1943 however (almost 75 years later) that scientists deduced that DNA stored genetic material.
6. Children and parents share about 99.5% of their DNA
This is what makes paternity tests and the like so accurate. An almost perfect DNA match can be established when tested for correctly.