HomeArticlesWhat does DNA stand for (How we learned that DNA is the genetic material)
What does DNA stand for (How we learned that DNA is the genetic material)
March 7, 2020
What does DNA stand for?
Deoxyribonucleic Acid is what we mean when we talk about the term – DNA. If you want
to keep things simple then think of DNA as a Code. It is the Code of our Generic material
of our cells. Our DNA is divided up into sections and these sections are known as genes, these
are what carry the instructions of how our body should be constructed. For example you
will have certain genes that will tell your body what color of hair you will receive,
or what color of eyes you will have while you are being constructed inside the womb.
We are ultimately made up of proteins so the genes have control of how we are made and
what our bodies will look like. When looking at the structure of DNA we see
its shape is the double helix. These are two long strands which coil around each other.
Half of your DNA will come from your Mother and the other half your Father.
How we learned that DNA is the genetic material It was in the early 1940’s that we first
started to see evidence that DNA was the bearer of genetic information and material. Three
scientists – Oswald Avery, Colion MacLeod and Maclum McCarty were the discoverers of
this information. Even from their many experiments carried out in the early 1940’s about DNA,
the scientific community was slow to respond and recognize the idea that DNA was a carrier
of Genetic Material and Information. Through these amazing experiments conducted we now
know and are certain that DNA is a carrier of genetic information with all living cells
in our body. Although there was still a big mystery behind
the structure of DNA – how was it able to produce a mechanism so that this genetic information
is passed onto to each new generation of child was proving to be a very hard question to
answer – although those question was finally answered in the early 1950’s by James Watson,
a geneticist and Francis Crick, a Physicist. Here they proposed that DNA has a structure
of a double helix. This discovery has helped prove it to be the key towards molecular biology
and modern biotechnology. How they came about this was that they used a lot of information
obtained from a number of other scientists working on the structure and chemistry of
DNA at the time and by gathering all this information they were able to construct the
information as if they were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle which helped them produce their own
structured model of DNA as we see it today. How we learned the function of DNA
So as we can see from the above information DNA is like a code embedded within out cells
that tell us how to grow and build and what to look like. So how do we explain the function
of DNA and how do we explain it in a simple easy term so that everyone can understand?
Scientist or not – You can think of DNA as an instruction booklet on how your body
is built and put together. Every cell in your body has their own copy of the booklet but
each cell may only read one chapter of your instruction booklet. These individual specialized
cells then go to construct each part of your body that it reads from the book. Maybe a
cell specializing in hair color as we mentioned before – although maybe one day as research
continues we may be able to find a way tell a cell to read a different part of our booklet
and achieve something greater, or perhaps even change a part of you!