• Test Your DNA!

The ABC’s of DNA — SNPs

illustration of DNA sequences forming the ladder rungs.

SNPs There are two main ways that people are genetically different from each other. Either they vary because they have a variation in the sequence of bases along their chromosomes. Or they differ because they have a different number of copies of a gene. It is the former situation we’ll discuss here, where the SNPs vary. A SNP, pronounced snip, is shorthand for single nulceotide polymorphism. A nucleotide is a genetic base — Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Cytosine (C) or Thymine (T) — attached to a sugar-phosphate molecule. Together the sugar and base form the backbone of a DNA molecule. … more…

The ABCs of DNA — Part 1

drawn image of a double helix of DNA

DNA DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the blueprint for everything that makes you – you! Every living creature on Earth — and some quasi-living creatures such as viruses and prions – have a DNA blueprint telling it how and when to make which proteins. Proteins are complex polymers that constitute the basic building material of a living creature. Like a blueprint for a building, DNA uses a universal code to transmit its instructions to the ‘construction crew’ in rest of the cell. All living creatures inherit this information from their parent (asexual reproduction) or parents (sexual reproduction.) Discoverers James … more…

The ABC’s of DNA — The Cell

An image of a cell with cellular bodies colored.

What is a Cell? The simplest organisms are single-celled creatures such as bacteria and algae while more complex organisms, such as humans and trees, are comprised of many cells with specialized functions. Cells consist of membrane bound collections of DNA, proteins, sugars and cytosol –the jelly-like liquid inside the cell. The semi-porous cell membrane controls what enters and exits the cell. Scientists split cells into two main types: prokaryotic cells, such as those comprising bacteria and archae that do not have a well-defined nucleus, and eukaryotic cells that have a distinct nucleus surrounded by a nuclear membrane. Bacteria! Small cells, … more…