The DNA Science
DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid in long, presents in almost every cells in your body. It is made up of repetitive units of nucleotides composing of a deoxyribose sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base that can be either adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), or thymine (T).
DNA contains all necessary information to build and maintain an organism. Although there is only around 0.1% difference between your DNA as compared to the stranger sitting next to you, this small variation contributes to significant differences including skin colour, height, IQ, personality, and even disease risk.
To provide a better picture of how powerful DNA can be, below shows few commonly known issues associated to DNA:
SNPs, single nucleotide polymorphisms in long, is the variation of nucleotides at one position in a DNA sequence among individuals. SNPs are one of the major factors that lead to the 0.1% difference among people.
Using a non-science approach to explain SNPs, just like how replacement of ‘s’ with ‘b’ totally changes the meaning of this sentence: ‘I am sad’, to ‘I am bad’, SNPs alter the physical and chemical characteristics of its product, protein. Protein plays a big role in our body. It involves in biological processes such as digesting the eggs you ate this morning, transporting oxygen from your lung to your toes, and coordinating your eyes and your brain so that you can understand this explanation.
SNPs can cause no effect, mild changes to severe consequences. A classic example of defective SNP is sickle cells anaemia. Polymorphism of adenine nucleotide at the haemoglobin beta (HBB) gene results in sickled shape red blood cells that have reduced efficiency in carrying oxygen.
Nurture vs Nature
Nature, refers to biological or hereditary information that affects child development and learning. Nature’s partner is Nurture, the environmental conditions that influence development.
In 2015, after reviewing all the twin studies of the past 50 years where over 14 million twins from 39 countries were evaluated, a global team of scientists from US, Australia and Netherlands discovered that genes contribute 49% of individual difference in traits like diseases, cognition and social interactions, which is about the same as the influences of environment and lifestyle factors (51%).
Original Research: Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies, Nature Genetics, 2015.