7 Things I Love About DNA

7 Things I Love About DNA

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted June 13, 2007 in DNA Fun, DNA in General

lego dnaIf you’re reading this then there’s a pretty good chance you love DNA just as much as I do. Here are the 7 things I love most about DNA.

1. DNA is versatile. How else can less than 25,000 genes dictate the creation of beings like you, me, and the cat next door?

2. DNA is beautiful. Take a look at any of the 15 Eye on DNA randomized banner images and marvel at the elegance of the double helix. DNA has even inspired art.

3. DNA transcends boundaries. All species, all races, all ethnicities, all people have DNA.*

4. DNA is useful. Whether in medicine or crime, DNA can be used to solve problems in a variety of situations.

5. DNA is a mystery. And everyone loves a good mystery, including Liz Strauss and her gang. (As for you, Dr. Le Fanu, I still don’t agree that it’s an “insoluble riddle.”)

6. DNA tells a story. DNA tells us a lot about our past (as Genetic Genealogist Blaine would surely agree), our present, and our future. Our DNA is with us wherever we go; exposed, observing, remembering, and reacting.

7. DNA is my life. Sounds weird but it’s true.

What else do you love about DNA?


*An old post of mine:

We all have DNA. From prehistoric fossils (geobiology) to bacteria to plants to animals to humans, DNA is what ties us together as living beings. There is nothing else that we all share and the similarities in our DNA are often astounding.

Humans come in all shapes and sizes. Some have more money, more education, and more opportunities. Others have more love, more friends, and more happiness. The unfortunate have more grief, more violence, and more oppression. Life is different for everyone and is neither fair nor equal.

If genetics could explain everything, we might remember that underneath all of life’s trappings, we are humans. Today I sit in an air conditioned apartment with my beloved husband and son. But it might just as easily be me wearing a burka living in extreme poverty in the deserts of Afghanistan.

Many things are beyond my control. Not being religious, I’m not sure what determined the kind of life I was born into and the paths that were open to me to get to where I am today. If I could see that just one base change in my DNA made all the difference, then I could just as easily understand that just one more mutation the other way could have taken me to another place all together. Not much separates us from each other.

I know there are plenty of eugenicists who would use genetic information for evil. But I’d like to think there are enough of us to slap them down. Why do we let the war mongering minority speak and act for the rest of us?

What I’m trying to say is that there has never been anything that united the people of this earth. Nothing except our DNA.

NB: I realize my argument is far from complete or thought out. This was written with only good intentions and believing that we are essentially good, not evil.


7 Things Meme inspired by Gill.

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Comment by NA

1: Our DNA is what makes us.
2: Our DNA is what makes us unique from others around us (being other people around us)
3: Our DNA is the foundation for many, many diseases
4: Our DNA speaks the truth and does not lie (I’m thinking court hearings and paternity/maternity testing)
5: Our DNA is sensitive and strong
6: Our DNA allows personalized medicine to occur.

Comment by Hsien

Great list, NA! I’m guessing some people like the fact that DNA speaks the truth. ;)

Comment by Biolovepulse

DNA is continuity. If not because of the complementary base pairing that enables information to be stored and copied, how can we reproduce?

DNA is advancement. This is the basis of evolution.

DNA is intricacy. It’s a molecule, yet it codes the fundamental aspect of our lives. How God has created a perfect architecture for it.

DNA is breakthrough. It’s a symbol of advancement in bioscience and biotechnology.

Comment by Hsien

Well thought out! DNA is definitely a symbol of modern science.

Comment by Blaine Bettinger

DNA is history – The amount of information that has been and WILL be mined from our DNA is amazing. I can’t wait to see the history that will be uncovered during the next decade or two. And plus, without DNA you and I wouldn’t have anything to blog about!

Comment by Hsien

Horrors! What would we do if we didn’t have our DNA-related blogs to while away the time? hehe

Comment by Andrew Sun

From a chemist:

ssDNA is a copolymer composed of 4 type of monomers whose sequence is defined one by one

And it can be synthesized with high yield (by PCR), while conserving perfect monodispersity

ssDNA is a copolymer of monomers which has sites for forming H-bonds, providing a large variety of possibility for supramolecular design

The specific binding between C-G/A-T means ssDNA could also perform some molecular recognition

Now we don’t usually choose among different types of polymer. We just use one polymer, ssDNA, with different sequences, to do any different tasks.

We constructed smart Tic-Tac-Toe playing robot via ssDNAs (seach tic-tac-toe under ACS Publication and you’ll find a Nano Lett. paper).

Polyelectrolyte which is water-soluble and negative-charged.

so much so far…


[...] Lei, who told me in no uncertain terms, and in a most engaging and interesting manner, “Seven Things I Love about DNA.” By “I” of course I meane [...]


[...] From London, England: Eye on DNA by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei Hsien Lei is highly respected and well-known health and science writer and blogger, whose passion is to make the world a better, healthier place. Hsien says, “Everyone needs to understand how our bodies work and how our genes plus the environment affect us.” One post I recommend is 7 Things I Love About DNA [...]

Comment by Rebecca Subscribed to comments via email

I would add DNA is easy to replicate. (Makes it way easy to study.)

Comment by Hsien

I bet they weren’t saying that before PCR was invented. PCR rulez! :)


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