Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is material in humans inherited from parents and past generations. DNA is the same in almost every cell in the body, and while a small amount is in the mitochondria, most DNA is present in the nucleus of the cells. DNA is unique to every person. The DNA code is comprised of four different chemical bases, including guanine, thymine, adenine, and cytosine. Due to the composition and uniqueness of DNA, studying it can provide a wealth of information about a person. This biological molecule can tell you who is related to who, provide information about health, and is even used to solve crimes and mysteries. Learning more about DNA lets you see how many ways it is used in today’s society.
Reveals Inherited Conditions
Certain medical conditions can be passed down to children from their parents, so DNA reveals inherited conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. Testing DNA is one way to determine if parents have certain genes or to see if the patients have certain genes associated with an increased risk of particular diseases.
There are two methods used for this purpose, including predictive testing and carrier testing. Carrier testing is used to determine if two individuals have specific genes they may pass down, resulting in the risk of their child developing the condition. In these cases, the parents are not sick, and they simply carry the genes and might pass them down. Predictive testing is done on the actual patient and can tell you if you are at risk for certain medical conditions. For example, it might help to identify genes or gene mutations associated with colorectal or breast cancer.
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