So yes, you have heard DNA this, DNA that. My DNA, his DNA, studied, sequenced and easy. Angelina Jolie has a gene so she goes to surgery. You have good genes/ bad genes because you are skinny/round/ fast or slow. It seems it defines us and decides for us what we can/can’t and what we should/shouldn’t do. So it must be very important, but what on Earth does it actually mean?!?
I am not going to go into chemistry. If you want to know the technical science behind it wikipedia will do a decent job: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA
I want to have a closer look into what it means, to us and give DNA a recognizable face. So here we go:
Think about your DNA as your own private, unique however massive library.
Your library contains all of the biological IFUs (instructions for use) you might ever need in your life, as well as all your predecessors had ever needed… yes, all of them. So IT IS MASSIVE. There is no way you will need it all, but they are there, all books, neatly filed and kept in their places. Out of that library 98% of it means nothing to you. You won’t ever read it, copy, or make any notes from it.
2% of those books is crucial. And your body uses it every time it needs to do anything. So when you need to make a cake (your protein), you check the category, go to the right shelf and pick a book with your instructions. Then you make notes from it (creating RNA) and then use your notes to make your cake (protein).
Why so many steps?!? Well, people who take good care of their books do not like having them in the kitchen, as they will get damaged, and you need it for life. You want to keep your instructions in a clean place, then have your notes somewhere handy, where you are actually MAKING the cake. You will get rid of unnecessary notes, because remember: in your kitchen you make millions of different cakes, you are using millions of different instructions, sometimes at the same time. You might be baking bread every day but make fruit loaf only for Christmas.
To summarize: your DNA is your library. You do not care about all books, you just use the ones you need at a time and make notes from them (creating RNA). Then you use your notes (RNA) to make your cake (protein).
More on ‘baking’ in the next post.