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What is DNA used for?

What is DNA used for?
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid contains the genetic make-up or properties of all living things. It contains information or codes necessary for cellular activity, like in the formation of proteins and RNA or ribonucleic acid. The parts of the DNA that contains genetic code are called genes. A DNA molecule usually has two strands that are connected and entwined forming a helix. In most living organisms, DNA is stored mostly on the nucleus of the cell. But some DNA may also be stored on the other parts of the cell like the mitochondria and organelles.

Since DNA contains genetic code, much of it is studied and analyzed for a variety of reasons. Generally, DNA testing may be used in identification or classification of family trees and it may also be used in various sciences for study in diseases and crimes.

In cases where a particular child has no identified father, DNA testing is a big help in tracing the real person who fathered the said child. This especially helpful in legal cases and will give finality on a particular child’s identity. DNA testing also provides a database of genetic codes from various life forms from the past up to the present, which is extremely valuable in the field of genetic medicine. Through DNA testing, one can also trace his roots and ancestors.

DNA testing is also widely used in the field of forensics. This is particularly valuable in solving crimes and law enforcement. Since DNA can be taken from blood, hair, and even fingerprint samples, police investigators and forensic experts will be able to use this data in matching DNA found on the crime scene with the DNA of criminals and suspects.

DNA analysis and testing is also a big help in medicine. Some medical conditions are traced to particular defects in DNA, so further testing and analysis will help in possible cures for these conditions. DNA tests done before a pregnant woman gives birth may also help in diagnosing possible health problems and birth defects.

More people have access now to DNA testing as this became affordable for many people. Much of it is used in tracing family history and medical diagnostics. But aside from these applications, analysis of DNA is also used in the fields of anthropology, paleontology, and archeology.

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1 Response for “What is DNA used for?”

  1. machv5 says:

    When I saw this question in the sidebar I thought it was meant literally like “What do our bodies use DNA for?”, anywho.

    My theory (I never researched it if this is actually totally correct) is that our bodies use DNA as a barcode for out immune systems to identify parts of us rather than foreign objects.

    Our white blood cells (among other things obviously) scan cells/items that come into contact with them and if they have the right barcode they do nothing and move on if however they find another barcode (in the case of fluid transfer or organ transplants) or non at all (debris from a cut entering our bodies) it sends out an alert to deal with the foreign object.

    To further back this theory up I think that this is why without immune suppressors people that have been given an organ transplant just reject their new organs because the organs don’t have the same barcode.

    Personally I think that if you could get our immune systems to accept two DNA samples instead of one that that would render the need for immune systems suppressors mute.

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About This Post
Posted by Erwin Z on Mar 12th, 2011 and filed under Biology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response via following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site