Here are the top 6 misconceptions about DNA and some corrective observations.
More properly, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a molecule of nucleic acid.
- DNA is only found in people
No, it is found throughout all living things in nature, though of course it differs in terms of its coding from one life form to another.
By way of example, if you have any pet critters they’ll also have DNA.
Life Can’t exist without DNA
This is a very tricky one since you can argue for a very lengthy period of time about whether matters such as viruses are alive or not.
Should you believe that viruses constitute life, then the statement isn’t entirely accurate. Some viruses do contain DNA while others don’t and use rather RNA (Ribonucleic acid) as a method of communicating genetic information. HIV is 1 example of a virus that does not contain DNA.
Theoreticians have also speculated as to whether more sophisticated life could develop without DNA and some are convinced that there is no reason why an alternate mechanism for passing on genetic information couldn’t have developed elsewhere. This is a choice discussion point amongst the scientific community debating whether extra-terrestrial life exists.
- It’s Hard to extract DNA
No, it isn’t.
In actuality, the fundamental chemistry behind the procedures is now relatively straightforward and related experiments are often conducted in several schools as part of the science lessons.
It is only useful, in an applied sense, in forensic work
To the contrary, knowing DNA and possibly using that understanding to generate treatments, is one of the fastest-growing and possibly most promising areas of medical research today. A whole range of treatments seem to be breaking from this field.
It’s also proving to be extremely helpful in understanding the evolutionary history of various human and other animal populations around the world. This is sometimes referred to as DNA-archaeology or DNA-anthropology etc..
More commercially, organisations are now encoding unique DNA markers into products in order to ensure that they can’t be easily or profitably be faked and counterfeited. These are sometimes referred to as”brand integrity solutions.”
- You can use DNA at birth to predict all the disorders someone will get as they get older
Unfortunately, you can’t.
Although this is often depicted in science fiction books and films, at the current time it is only possible to analyse the DNA of a newly born child to search for a relatively small number of certain identified problems that will mean that he or she will develop a specific condition in the future.
In other situations, it’s now understood that certain genetic combinations can mean that the individual concerned will have certain genetic predispositions towards a condition later in life. That’s far from the same thing as stating that medical science can currently say with certainty that they will develop these conditions.
A number of illnesses in life are related to lifestyle choices or the misfortune of picking up something infectious. These may be entirely unrelated to your genes. So, as not all illnesses and conditions are directly linked to genetics they can’t be predicted by analysis at birth.