Lets understand DNA

Whoever said DNA is exclusive pattern of identity should look deep into this piece of news – Lydia Fairchild of State of Washington became one of the 50 people in the world to be born with two different sets of DNA. Source: Ripley’s Believe it or not!

Two things are clear from this piece of news; the possibility of more than one DNA in a person and there are already 50 people known possessing dual sets of DNA. Scientific community has called the people with different sets of DNA as ‘chimeras’.

For most of us, the term DNA instantly recollects the tests conducted for identity, or paternity for forensic study or legal cases. A search on DNA brings forth a lot of jargon comprehensible only by the scientific fraternity. DNA is the core factor that drives the thesis and experiments in most of the life saving research projects.

The fact is DNA and its role goes beyond human beings existence. DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acid, in the cell decides what we are.  DNA is often referred to as a ‘Cell’. Imagine a double helix, twisted spiral arranged as a ladder, is the shape of the DNA. Each Rung of the ladder contains a combination of a pair of different DNA bases – G for Guanine, C for cytosine, A for Adenine and T for Thymine. The pairs always combine as G with T and A with C. Huge quantity of DNA approximately around 3 billion DNA base pairs exists in each cell. Trillions of cells make up human body and the same set of  DNA base pairs exist in each cell. The amazing fact is that the four letters G, C, A and T that form the DNA forms the complex wonderful human being.

DNA Profiling is used to establish genetic relationships but the confirmation of no genetic relationship is not certain. Several instances of DNA profiling on mother and child being unrelated has been proved false. Existence of chimeras has also raised questions on the unique nature of DNA.  There are instances of fake DNA evidence misleading investigations. A case in which a criminal injected a Penrose drain in his arm with foreign blood and anti coagulants to evade identification through DNA profiling has come to light.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fingerprinting

Today the discovery of DNA has led to one of the significant advancement in medical history – Stem cell research. Stem cell research can lead to discovery of treatments and cures to the worst diseases that include Cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and even diabetes that has been eluding medical fraternity. This research also has triggered serious concerns over fears of human cloning and destruction of human embryos to support the research. Many stem cell banks with the state of the art facility to store embryonic stem cells have come into existence to utilize the benefits of stem cell research.

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