26 Strangest Facts About DNA And Genes That You Never Heard Of

A Gene is a single functional unit of DNA. For example, there may be a gene or two for hair colour, eye colour, whether or not we hate green peppers, etc. It’s just a sequence of linked molecules called “bases” that are responsible for a given feature or protein. On the other hand, a genome is the collection of all of one’s genes. If we picture genes like sentences, then we can picture the genome as a whole book. When we look at genes, we mostly worry about exactly what it is they’re making. When we look at genomes, we have to worry about how groups of genes start to interact and effect each other.

Here in this article, we have sorted out some of the most incredible and strangest facts about DNA and genome that will blow your mind:

1 | Size Of Genome:

A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes are made up of DNA. Some genes act as instructions to make molecules called proteins. However, many genes do not code for proteins. In humans, genes vary in size from a few hundred DNA bases to more than 2 million bases.

The human genome is 3.3Gb (b means bases) in size. HIV virus is only 9.7kb. The largest known virus genome is 2.47Mb (pandoravirus salinus). The largest known vertebrate genome is 130Gb (marbled lungfish). The largest known plant genome is 150Gb (Paris japonica). The largest known genome belongs to an Amoeboid whose size is 670Gb, but this claim is disputed.

2 | It’s Really Long Beyond Our Imagination:

If unwound and linked together, the strands of DNA in each of your cells would be 6 feet long. With 100 trillion cells in your body, that means if all your DNA were put end-to-end, it would stretch over 110 billion miles. That’s hundreds of round trips to the sun!

3 | Methylation Makes The Differences:

Methylation © Wikimedia

Addition of methyl group to the G and C rich regions of DNA makes DNA inactive or nonfunctional. The non-coding region of the genome is majorly methylated. By doing it, the gene expression is regulated epigenetically. Every individual has a unique methylation pattern that is different from others. One copy of a genome inherited from the father while another from the mother. Therefore two different methylation pattern exists in a baby.

Interestingly, during the late phase pregnancy, all the methylated DNA becomes demethylated once for a moment and remethylated differently from the mather and mother DNA. Every time the methylation is reprogrammed during the pregnancy.

4 | Genes Make Up Only About 3 Percent Of Your DNA:

Genes are short segments of DNA, but not all DNA is genes as previously we said. All told, genes are only about 1-3% of your DNA. The rest of your DNA controls the activity of your genes.

5 | Adam Actually Lived 208,304 Years Ago!

Creation of Adam, detail. By Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1510.

Human genes show that we all share a common male ancestor who is called Y-Chromosomal Adam. He lived approximately 208,304 years ago.

6 | Who Is The 4th One??

© Wikimedia

The genome of modern humans contains the DNA from four different hominid ancestors: homo sapiens, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and a fourth species that has yet to be discovered.

7 | How Did These Genes Get Here?

There are 45 genes which the human species has likely ‘stolen’ from other species, such as worms, fruit flies and bacteria. They have not simply been passed on from our primitive ancestors. Instead, they have jumped directly into the human genome in the last couple of million years.

8 | We’re All 99.9 Percent Alike:

Of the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, 99.9% are the same as the person next to us. While that rest 0.1% is still what makes us unique, it means we’re all more similar than we are different.

9 | Humans Are Almost Similar To The Chimpanzees:

97% of the human genome is similar to the chimpanzee while 50% of the human genome is similar to the banana.

10 | Once Upon A Time, There Lived A Blue-Eyed Man:

The HERC2 gene mutation found in people with blue eyes is presumed to have only happened once, which means that all blue-eyed humans share a single common ancestor from which the mutation originated.

11 | Koreans Don’t Produce Body Odour:

Most Koreans don’t produce body odour due to large-scale dominance of the gene ABCC11. As a consequence, deodorant is a rare commodity in Korea.

12 | Chromosome 6p Deletion:

Olivia Farnsworth

The only known case of “Chromosome 6p Deletion” where a person does not feel pain, hunger, or the need to sleep (and subsequently no sense of fear) is a UK girl named Olivia Farnsworth. In 2016, she was hit by a car and dragged 30 meters, yet she felt nothing and emerged with minor injuries.

13 | Phantom Of Heilbronn:

From 1993 to 2008, the same DNA was discovered at 40 different crime scenes in Europe, leading to the investigation of the “Phantom of Heilbronn“, which turned out to be a woman working in a cotton swab factory who inadvertently contaminated the swabs with her own DNA.

14 | Identical Twins’ DNA:

Hassan and Abbas O.

Despite having DNA evidence of the suspect, German police could not prosecute a $6.8 million jewel heist because the DNA belonged to identical twins Hassan and Abbas O., and there was no evidence to prove which one of them was the culprit. Identical Twins Have Identical DNA. However, according to new research, though identical twins share very similar genes, identical they are not.

15 | Gene That Reduces The Need To Sleep:

1-3% of people are equipped with a mutated gene called hDEC2 which allows their body to get the rest it requires from just 3 to 4 hours of sleep.

16 | The Genetic Legacy:

A 2003 study found evidence that Genghis Khan’s DNA is present in about 16 million men alive today. However, an article from 2015 claims that ten other men left genetic legacies so huge they rival Genghis Khan’s.

17 | The Blue People Of Kentucky:

Blue people of Kentucky

A family of people with blue skin lived in Kentucky for many generations. The Fugates of Troublesome Creek are thought to have gained their blue skin through a combination of inbreeding and a rare genetic condition known as methemoglobinemia.

18 | People With Blonde Hair Live On Solomon Island:

The common occurrence of blond hair among the 10 percent dark-skinned indigenous people of the Solomon Islands is due to a homegrown genetic variant.

People on the Solomon Islands have a gene named TYRP1 that causes blonde hair, despite their dark skin. This gene is unrelated to the one that causes blondeness in European peoples and evolved independently.

19 | Gene That Helps Carry More Oxygen In Our Body:

Popular athlete and 7-time Olympic medalist Eero Mäntyranta had a gene mutation that allowed him to carry 50% more oxygen in his body than a normal human being.

20 | The Village Of Deaf:

There is a village named Bengkala in northern Bali, Indonesia, where due to a recessive gene named DFNB3, so many people are born deaf that hearing people use sign language called Kata Kolok, and spoken language equally.

21 | HIV Resistant Gene:

There is a mutation of the gene CCR5, called Delta 32, which introduces a premature stop codon into the gene. This premature coding means cells that have this mutation couldn’t be infected with the HIV virus. Individuals with a homozygous CCR5-Delta 32 mutation are completely resistant to the HIV virus

22 | Elizabeth Taylor’s Beautiful Eyelashes:

Elizabeth Taylor had a genetic mutation of the FOXC2 gene, which gave her an extra row of eyelashes.

23 | Genome Editing Tools:

Just like we edit our photos and videos, the human genome can also be edited to remove faulty genes or non-functional genes. Genome editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9, Sleeping beauty transposon system and viral vectors are used to inserting or removing DNA sequencing. For now, the only problem is that the consequences of genome editing are unpredictable.

However, in 2015, a genome-editing technique called TALEN was used in the last-ditch effort to treat an infant named Layla, who was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of leukemia. The technique effectively treated her and is being researched to treat a wide range of diseases. –

24 | The Supertaster Gene Variant:

TAS2R38 (Taste 2 Receptor Member 38) is a Protein Coding gene. Diseases associated with TAS2R38 include Thiourea Tasting and Dental Caries.

About a quarter of the population tastes food way more intensely than the rest of us. These ‘supertasters’ are more likely to put milk and sugar in bitter coffee or avoid fatty foods. The reason for their reaction, scientists think, is programmed into their genes, specifically one called TAS2R38, the bitter-taste receptor gene. The variant responsible for super tasting is known as PAV, while the variant responsible for below-average tasting abilities is known as AVI.

25 | The Malaria-Protecting Gene Variant:

People who are carriers for sickle-cell disease – meaning that they have one sickle gene and one normal hemoglobin gene – are more protected against malaria than those who are not.

26 | Octopuses Can Edit Their Own Genes:

Cephalopods like squids, cuttlefish and octopuses are incredibly intelligent and wily creatures — so much so that they can rewrite the genetic information in their neurons. Instead of one gene coding for one protein, which is normally the case, a process called recoding lets one octopus gene produce multiple proteins. Scientists discovered that this process helps some Antarctic species “keep their nerves firing in frigid waters.”

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