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DNA Secrets

Updated on September 21, 2014

DNA - what is it?

The mystery behind DNA is not such a mystery once you know how it works.

Its unique properties makes it an ideal tool for tracing parentage, solving crimes and predicting the future health of the unborn. But how far should this technology be allowed to influence our choices and what is the future in relation to freedom of choice, insurance, even job security? These questions are worth airing now and checking the importance of this scientific research in our lives.

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structure of dna
structure of dna

Buried Knowledge

Its true! DNA has a chemical formula and its scientific name is Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It was one of the first long terms I learned in molecular chemistry and was able to fascinate my friends when I boldly wrote it on the blackboard before the lecture started. They were impressed, after all they had never heard of it at that time, 1960 or thereabouts.

Few people, in fact, had heard of it and it would become more fascinating to me later on when the truth behind its properties and power would become known. Although Crick and Watson were credited with its discovery and produced images of the chromosome (pictured) and published an article April 25th, 1953, it was their colleague, Rosalind Franklin, who had done most of the work. Her untimely death, as a result of cancer probably caused from X-rays she took repeatedly of the nucleus, almost passed without notice.

The image they produced and which has many times been verified as correct is a double helix on which are held matching genes. One from each parent is essential for the cell to reproduce. That means that 2 parents, a male and a female, are required for the process to work. Only recently have scientists been able to reproduce mammals from cloned cells.

Without this knowledge religions can get away with fanciful tales of virgin births for their prophets and other extraordinary claims. It is little wonder, therefore, that powerful organisations, like the Vatican, were able to suppress the knowledge of evolution for some hundred years after Darwin's book was published in 1879. It was finally released around the time of the discovery of genes. Now, "according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution." The source -Telegraph News

One wonders about the suppression of knowledge in schools and universities in the United States and other countries that hug the lies as fact.

It is hard to believe that religion still has such a strong hold over that country, which claims to have a system of freedom of speech but it doesn't appear that way by outsiders. Yet Americans are keen to embrace stem cell research and genetic assistance for their health problems, so where do they think this knowledge comes from? It is little wonder that Americans are so confused over things like family planning and so on?

Countries so suppressed that the facts of life frighten them are not free or democatic but rather they are held to ransom by ideals that are killing the world.

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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

Nonsensical Pride

Watching the above video gives the impression that the chemical formula of DNA is a living thing. Its ability to change into protein and chains of particles that carry information and influence the characteristics of the next generation is a mystery that man has yet not resolved and certainly is unable to replicate.

In sexual reproduction the way it does that is by regular divisions of its contents and the matching of one set of particles (genes) with that of another set derived from another similar being .In normal cell division it is not so complicated, as ordinary cells simply divide and their chromosomes divide into two halves, each half going into one of two new cells.

Well before genes were discovered Charles Darwin (pictured) worked out that animals and plants developed from ancestral types that were nothing like their modern day counterparts. Although he produced physical evidence and drawings he was ignored by the Scientific community. This gave religious bodies the freedom to claim that he was mad, of the devil and that he did not know what he was talking about, The anti-Christ had arrived, according to them, and was overturned through criticism of his work. Not because anyone in the religious groups ever sat down with him and talked it over or wanted to learn how he had arrived at his conclusions. Nor too that they may have been familiar with such words as these in Old Testament Prophecies.

The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure, into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

Who knoweth not that in all these that the hand of God hath wrought this? Joob 12:7-9

The religions are the liars, the cheats and the robbers. They demand payment for the confusion and lies they put over the world. They manipulate, brainwash their followers and dominate governments. But they are dangerous and their ways are destructive.

During the process of reproduction of individuals there are times when things can change. e.g. the genes determining hair colour, nose size, height and so on, will vary, But occasionally there is something called a 'mutation'. That involves a mutant or unlikely gene becoming dominant and creating an individual different from the parents. This is what Darwin described as natural selection. There are different ways that this can happen,

In an unnatural combination when 2 species cross, for example, one gets a different individual to either parent, such as when a horse and donkey produce a mule. But the offspring is unable to reproduce so the genes are not carried forward. With genetic manipulation of plant species now taking place the offspring are unable to reproduce, that is set seed. This is great for the companies producing the new strains but disastrous for nature which can end up unable to provide normal food resources for a hungry world. It also affects insects and animals that feed on the flowers and pollen that such plants cannot produce or which are greatly changed and chemically incompatible with their digestive systems.

In natural selction habits and behaviour influences genetic variations. For example when fish developed legs and then lungs and left the oceans for land, Reptiles developed wings and then feathers and became birds. Primates left trees and walked upright, eventually progressing ino human form and modern man. This happens because the mutation has produced a benefit to enable those individuals that carry it to survive while those that don't die out.

We have all heard the adage "use it or lose it". Nature removes things no longer required. For example humans have lost their fur cover and the tail their ancestral primates once, had but not completely. The hair on out heads and public and chest hair are remnants of our furry coats while the cocoyx is the remnant of the tail.

These changes are subtle at first and hard for the uneducated and ignorant to understand and religious groups stick by old claims that man was created in God's image and the world was formed in six days. This is dogmatism at its best but it is also protection of beliefs and words written down thousands of years of go which now make no sense. It is also protection of their livelihoods and wealth creation. They provoke ignorance and block the ears and cover the eyes to common sense and scientific progress.

Genetic Mutation

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DNA Sequence chart
DNA Sequence chart

Forensic DNA Typing

One cannot escape their genes. When any part of the body is left at the crime scene then the DNA can be extracted and typed. It is known that only one tenth of one percent of an individuals DNA differs to that of another person's but this is enough. As that variant will only occur in that one individual while the family's DNA is a stable.

The Duke of Edinburgh, a distant cousin, donated his DNA so that the skeletal remains of the Russian Royal family of Tsar Nicolas II, could be idetified. They disappeared and were murdered during the Revolution of 1917. The remains were located in a forest in the lattter part of the 20thC.

A hair, finger nail, drop of blood or other body fluid or whatever left at a crime scene can be used for this purpose, and is now helping to solve crimes committed decades ago where such evidence was collected and stored. It has also freed men from Death's Row when it proved them innocent of crimes they did not commit The DNA does not deteriorate unlike fingerprints or other evidence and can be used for centuries later for solving crimes.

A recent documentary showed how DNA was used to identify the bodies and increase knowledge surrounding the famous unsolved English crime of Jack The Ripper. He murdered several women prostitutes in London in 1888 and the case is so intriguing that it constantly crops up in literature.

When studying genetics at university it was fascinating to see how the machine that identifies those variants works. They are called 'markers' and are responsible for the subtle changes that determine one individual from another. But whereas one in a family might have a small nose while all the others have large ones that is a variant, while the family DNA is a stable pattern. But when compared to the next door neighbour, for example, who has straight black hair, our family might have frizzy or curly hair as a common trait.

There are millions of variants, therefore, within a community so pulling up the one that fits an individual is as simple as comparing his DNA to the sample. If it matches then the chances of that being an incorrect ID is several million to one. Our criminal has no escape route. Even a cigarette butt can carry DNA through the saliva it attracts when smoked.

Another form of DNA that can be used to clarify ID is called mitochondrial DNA. This is contained only in the cells passed through an individual from the mother. It can be traced back hundreds of generations to identify origins of some species and was unknown by scientists until more recently.

It is the clincher in the evolution story.

DNA Preservation

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Murder Trial

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Please leave a comment about your experience with this quiz. Also there are more quizzes below so you don't have to go. Thank you.

Before You Go.

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    • Steve Dizmon profile image

      Steve Dizmon 3 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Had streaks of "correct" followed by streaks of "incorrect".

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      Amazing lens. Some of the questions though were very difficult for me. At least I learned some things. Another nice work:=)

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      Impressive, indeed.

    • maryLuu profile image

      maryLuu 4 years ago

      Very educational!

    • MillBucks profile image

      MillBucks 5 years ago

      This quiz was very fascinating, loved it immensely!

    • Dmarieinspires profile image

      Dana Marie 5 years ago from St. Peters, MO

      Forensics fastinate me! Great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I did the best on the forensic section, so I guess TV programs do help some. You have created and fascinating challenge here, very well done....and you make us think about how we believe.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      A fascinating field of science to study.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      Thank you for all the wonderful information

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Yikes I am not too smart when it comes to DNA knowledge. You obviously are though :)

    • profile image

      aishu19 6 years ago

      DNA is truly a fascinating subject . Thanks for sharing this

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I didn't learn anything new about DNA but I love the way you've explained everything here. I am bookmarking this page to share whenever I need to explain DNA to someone. I think you'd do very well if you chose to write a coffee table science book; you have a great pop science tone.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Good one as always

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      This is a very interesting subject. Many crimes have been solved because of DNA.