5 Interesting DNA Properties and Functions

In the 1920s, scientists discovered that there were four different blood types – A, AB, B, and O. Over the years, scientists have learned that blood is so much more than just one of those four types, it contains a lot of very important and detailed information about a person.

DNA testing was one of the great discoveries of the mid- to late 20th century. Paternity testing was developed in the 1960s, and DNA testing was officially used in courts starting in 1986. Since then, DNA testing has come a long way, and there is a lot of information these tests can provide about a person.

1. Ancestry

Currently one of the most easily accessible and popular uses for DNA testing is to learn about one’s ancestry. DNA testing companies compare the person’s DNA with a database of DNA from people around the world. This provides a fairly accurate overview of where that person’s ancestors probably came from. This can be very helpful for people who were never able to learn about their ancestry, or who want to reconnect with their biological family.

2. Certain diseases and conditions

There are certain diseases and conditions that are hereditary, meaning they run in the family. This is because there is something in the DNA that causes it. For instance, DNA can show the heightened possibility that someone will have heart disease. It can also show someone’s susceptibility to obesity.

It can detect hereditary risk of cancer and osteoarthritis. Having information about one’s susceptibility to certain diseases and conditions allows them to take preventative measures in dealing with them, instead of trying to fix them once they appear.

3. Visual features

DNA can indicate what someone likely looked like. For instance, red hair colour can be determined with 96% accuracy by DNA due to certain genes. Eye colour is also determined by certain genes. With 97% accuracy, DNA testing can indicate whether someone had dark, light, or hazel eyes.

It can also indicate which sex someone is based on the X or Y chromosome in their DNA. If the person has two X chromosomes, they are genetically male, if they have an X and a Y chromosome, they are genetically female.

4. Proof

Another widely used function for DNA testing is to prove something about someone. This could be as simple as a paternity test, which proves that someone is the father of another person. DNA testing can also prove that two people are related in other ways, for instance siblings and half siblings can be tested to find if they are genetically related.

DNA can prove that someone was or was not at a certain place based on whether their DNA is found. DNA can be found in blood, hair, skin cells, or other bodily fluids, which has proven especially useful in crime scene investigations.

5. Health and fitness needs

Everybody is different, so every body is different, meaning DNA can actually indicate a person’s specific health and fitness needs. Why do some diets work for some people but not for others? Or why do some workout plans work for some people but not for others? This is because some people’s DNA make it so.

Certain workouts just don’t provide results for some people, so understanding a person’s DNA can help them adjust accordingly. DNA testing can actually indicate what a person’s eating habits and tendencies will be like as well, which can help them develop a plan to avoid those tendencies and allows them to develop an eating plan based on the actual proportions of fats, carbs, and protein that they need.