What does DNA stand for, where is it found and who discovered it?

Scientists look at a DNA model

Every living organism is made up of DNA (Image: Getty Images)

Every single living thing we know is made up of DNS.

From that houseplant you’re desperately trying to keep alive, to your nearest and dearest, each and every one of you contains DNA.

Simply put, DNA is a long molecule that contains the information that organisms need to develop and reproduce.

It can replicate itself and holds more data than some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to make you, well, you.

But what exactly does DNA stand for, where is it found and who discovered it?

Here’s what we know.

What does DNA stand for?

We know it as DNA, but it actually stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.

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According to Mediline, it is the genetic material of humans and almost all other organisms.

Almost every cell in the human body has the same DNA.

DNA is a polymer made up of two chains of polynucleotides twisted around each other to form a double helix — the twisted image we’re used to when we think of DNA.

Why is it so important? Well, it contains genetic instructions for the development, function, growth, and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses.

So basically everything about you and other living species comes from DNA.

Where to find it

Most of the DNA in your body and other living organisms is found in the nucleus of a cell, known as nuclear DNA.

A scientist examining DNA on a computer

DNA can be found in both the nucleus and mitochondria of a cell (Image: Getty Images)

Also found in the mitochondria is a small amount of DNA called mitochondrial DNA.

The information in DNA is stored in a type of code made up of four bases:

  • adenine (A)
  • guanine (G)
  • Cytosine (C)
  • Thymine (C)

Human DNA contains about 3 billion of these bases, the order of which determines the information needed to build an organism.

Basically, this code determines whether you exist as a human, frog, bird, or banana.

DNA bases pair – A with T and C with G – into units called base pairs, which together with sugar and phosphate form nucleotides, or the ladder structure within the double helix.

Who discovered it?

You might think that American biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick discovered DNA in the 1950s.

DNA was actually discovered well before the 1900s (Image: Getty Images)

However, this is not true.

In fact, DNA was first discovered in the 1860s by the Swiss chemist Friedrich Miescher.

The scientist originally tried to study the composition of lymphoid cells, also known as white blood cells.

Instead, he accidentally isolated a new molecule, which he named nuclein, from a cell nucleus.

In 1881, Nobel Prize winner and German biochemist Albrecht Kossel identified nuclein as a nucleic acid and gave DNA its name.

MORE : What family DNA test kits can tell us about British history – and our future

MORE : I found out some dark family secrets after a DNA test

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/11/20/what-does-dna-stand-for-where-is-it-found-and-who-discovered-it-17787530/ What does DNA stand for, where is it found and who discovered it?

Justin Scacco

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