As we know, DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes and is the carrier of genetic information. Authorities are using a powerful tool in their effort to identify the scores of people killed by the wildfire that ripped through Northern California: rapid DNA testing that produces results in just two hours. This testing analyzes DNA from bone fragments or other remains, which then matches it to genetic material provided by relatives of the missing. However, the technology for this kind of identification depends on people coming forward to give a DNA sample via a cheek swab, and so far, there are not nearly as many volunteers as authorities had expected. How this works is that once DNA is extracted from remains, it is placed in a vial that goes into a black machine that processes the material and get a DNA profile within 2 hours; traditional methods can take days or weeks and if a relative’s DNA is already in the system, a match will pop up right away. This is one way DNA serves as an important tool for devastating tragedies.
Here is a little about why muscle cells look and act differently than skin cells, even though the DNA throughout our body is the same.
A major way the body achieves this is through methylation, where methyl groups stick to a particular location in DNA, so that the group blocks the genetic information in this region from being read by the cell. In addition, methylation affects local flexibility of DNA, which in turn controls how DNAs are packaged into chromosomes. While these processes were generally known, how methylation affects DNA's mechanical properties has remained unknown.
"These methyl groups not only bump against neighboring atoms in DNA, but water molecules rearrange around these methyl groups," Hwang said. "The rearranged water molecules actually resist deformation even in the absence of the direct collision of atoms with the methyl groups, as if the surrounding water molecules are a part of DNA itself."
There are multiple applications to understanding how processes such as methylation work. One example Hwang gave was developing more knowledge on how cancer cells function.
"Cancer cells often methylate their DNA to turn off genes that control cell division, promoting uncontrolled growth," he said.
We have looked at the structure DNA and what happens in replicating DNA.But scientists now are using DNA to answer questions like, are humans relate to Neanderthals ? DNA tests on ancient bones have shown that Neanderthal man and modern humans are not closely related. Scientists now believe that Neanderthals, who lived alongside modern humans for thousands of years, never interbred with their close cousins. DNA tests on living people have revealed other ethnic and ancestral origins that have been lost over time. The ancestors of many Icelandic women came from Ireland rather than Norway. Many British Afro-Caribbean men inherited their male Y chromosomes from white ancestors who were alive at the time of the slave trade.
This website explains some weird facts about DNA. One fact which really stood out to me was that every human being is 99.9 percent alike with each other. Of the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, only 0.1% are unique to us. While that 0.1% is still what makes us unique, it means we’re all more similar than we are different. Also, human DNA is 95% identical to the DNA of chimpanzees, and 50 percent identical to banana's DNA. This was very surprising to me as banana and humans are totally different, yet they still share 50 percent DNA.
DNA helps idenitfy a lot about a person, and can be used in many situations including the horrible California fires that has been ruining the homes of thousands of families. Associated Press reports that the wildfire, known as the “Camp Fire,” was 95 percent contained Thursday. It has been blamed for more than 80 deaths. State officials are using DNA tests in an effort to identify those killed by the Northern California wildfire. DNA is a substance that carries genetic information in the cells of plants and animals. The testing tool produces results in just two hours. The test, called Rapid DNA Identification, can examine DNA from small pieces of bone or other human remains. It then compares it to genetic material provided by relatives of the missing individuals.
Some facts about DNA:
1. Your DNA could stretch from the earth to the sun and back ~600 times.
- If unwound and linked together, the strands of DNA in each of your cells would be 6 feet long. With 100 trillion cells in your body, that means if all your DNA were put end-to-end, it would stretch over 110 billion miles. That’s hundreds of round trips to the sun!
2. We’re all 99.9 percent alike.
- Of the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, only 0.1% are unique to us. While that 0.1% is still what makes us unique, it means we’re all more similar than we are different.
3. Your DNA could link you to places you’d never imagine.
- Genetics has the power to tell you things you never dreamed of knowing, from just the DNA in your saliva. With an AncestryDNA test, for example, you can find out which world regions your ancestors may have lived in hundreds to thousands of years ago, what bonded them over generations, and why and where they migrated – all from your DNA.
Scientists have identified gene recombination in neurons that produces thousands of new gene variants within Alzheimer's disease brains. The study reveals for the first time how the Alzheimer's-linked gene, APP, is recombined by using the same type of enzyme found in HIV. The findings provide rationale for evaluating HIV antiretroviral therapies in people with Alzheimer's.
The scientists found that the gene recombination process required an enzyme called reverse transcriptase, the same type of enzyme HIV uses to infect cells. Although there is no medical evidence that HIV or AIDS causes Alzheimer's disease, existing FDA-approved antiretroviral therapies for HIV that block reverse transcriptase might also be able to halt the recombination process and could be explored as a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease. The scientists noted the relative absence of proven Alzheimer's disease in aging HIV patients on antiretroviral medication, supporting this possibility.
Researchers from the United Kingdom’s Imperial College London have developed a promising approach to dealing with malaria and Zika by editing mosquito DNA. A “gene drive” which disseminates a genetic modification that stops female mosquitoes from reproducing. Gene drives are the name given to fragments of DNA that can be inserted into an organism’s chromosomes to trigger certain changes. This approach will suppress the mosquito population which transmits diseases, such as malaria, Zika, yellow fever, and so on. Anopheles gambiae, the group of mosquito species which spread malaria, the gene drive was able to stop further reproduction after seven to 11 generations of mosquitoes. This was the first time that scientists have been able to use genetic engineering to stop the reproductive capacity of complex organisms in a lab setting.
For the past 17 years, scientists have been using the nucleic acid sequence or genome from mostly one individual as a point of reference in comparing DNA and genetic diversity among our species. However, scientists are now saying that the collective genomes of 910 people of African descent have about 300 million bits of DNA that is not present in their current baseline reference genome. Knowing genetic variations between populations can give answers as to why some groups of people are more susceptible to certain diseases than others; scientists now recommend that baseline references should reflect the populations that are being compared to, allowing for these new bits of DNA to be more accurately compared and studied for variants.
DNA is a double helix molecule that carries the genetic instructions used for many processes in our body. Today, DNA can tell us about many things. A DNA test is able to examine your DNA and compare it to other samples from the word and tell where you’re from. DNA samples can also help predict the future by detecting whether a fetus has any chromosomal abnormalities that could cause a genetic disorder. It can also reveal if you are at a high risk for certain diseases that are linked to genes and DNA like Alzheimer’s.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.