Human beings have been trying to decipher their origin and roots for centuries onwards. They easily observed that living things inherit traits from their parents, and used this finding for the cultivation of certain features in animals and plants. But the means of such heredity represented a mystery to people for a long time, until in 1953 the DNA molecule was described by James Watson and Francis Crick and proclaimed the bearer of all the genetic information the human possesses. A new era in genetic science began, facilitating revolutions in spheres ranging from medicine to jurisdiction.
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As such, the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule comprises two long, spiral-shaped chains made up of nucleotides containing three molecules (a base one, a phosphate one, and the sugar molecule deoxyribose). The bases in the DNA nucleotides are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine (C), coupled together correspondingly and forming the DNA code for each individual. Amazingly enough, research has shown that using only those four different base possibilities — A to T, T to A, G to C, and C to G — the human genome is capable of creating a whole life, whilst the Microsoft Windows XP operation system requires a 200 times larger code in order to operate one personal computer (Moore). The DNA molecules constitute genes that are in their turn responsible for the formation of proteins that perform the chemical reactions of the body.
The uniqueness of the DNA consists in the fact that firstly it possesses the ability to replicate itself repeating precisely in each cell of the body; and secondly, the extremely varied layout of the DNA allows for encoding information for a huge number of proteins comprising the living bodies. The DNA enables storing and transferring from generation to generation an almost unimaginable variety of inherent personal features, from the parameters of skin and hair structure and color to the intricacies of brain development. Located within the gene, the DNA functions as a holder of a unique pattern necessary for the individual’s grown, development, differentiation, and reproduction. This makes the DNA especially valuable for purposes of research in the most various spheres of human activity.
In medicine the analysis of mutations in different genes helps to predict possible hereditary illnesses and fosters developing treatment for the diseases caused by those mutations; focused research of the two specific genes responsible for processing widespread drugs allows doctors to prescribe a more accurate treatment to individual patients. In jurisdictions, forensic medicine widely exploits the practice of DNA research, the results of which constitute strong evidence, in order to identify the actual criminals. Catastrophe victims can also be efficiently identified by their DNA.
Other exciting fields of applying DNA research are history and anthropology: the recently emerged genetic anthropology makes use of the evolutionarily stable mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomes to trace the patterns of human migration all over the world. In an attempt to solve the captivating mystery of races, forensic research highlights the common ancestry of people and strives to answer, inter alia, the questions of the impact the culture has had on human genetic variation, the ways cultural practices have affected human patterns of genetic diversity, and the reason why people look different from each other if they share a recent common ancestry; besides, forensic studies databases assist medical research focusing on the ethnic distribution of genetic diseases. (Human Genome Project)
As it appears, human beings are indeed bearers of unique historical information that is encrypted in their DNA code which is individual in every person and constitutes a mystery yet to be solved.
Human Genome Project. “Genetic Anthropology, Ancestry, and Ancient Human Migration”. 2008. Web.
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Moore, Todd. “Man vs. Windows XP”. 2009. Web.