Worlds of David Darling > Children's
Encyclopedia of Science > Identity and DNA
IDENTITY AND DNA
What Makes You Unique?
What makes you unique? Draw or stick your
ideas on a print-out of the body outline below.
You can include what you look like and the things you like to do.
What Does DNA Do?
DNA contains the information needed to build living things. From plants
to people DNA shapes our world. Find out below what is written in your DNA.
|Lots of our characteristics are decided by our DNA. DNA determines
if you are a sheep or a human being, the color your eyes, and how
all your body parts are made and work together.
|Your DNA will be 99.5% the same as everyone else on the planet.
The DNA we share is what makes us human.
|The 0.5% of DNA that we don't share with everyone else is the bit
that makes you unique. This is the part of our DNA that decides whether
we are a boy or a girl, and whether we are a boy or a girl and whether
we have blonde or brown hair.
|You inherited half of your DNA from your mother and half from your
father. This is the reason people in families often look alike. What
characteristics do you think you inherited from your mom and dad?
Is It In Your Genes?
Which of your characteristics are decided by your genes?
Which characteristics are shaped by your lifestyle and environment?
List the characteristics that you think are decided by your genes and which
by your environment.
Here are some characteristics to help get you started: eye color, height,
name, favorite color, where you live, gender.
Will any of your characteristics be listed in both columns?
What Is DNA?
DNA is a bit like the recipe for life. Your body uses the information stored
in your DNA to build everything you need to live.
|Your body is made up of lots and lots of cells. There are more cells
in your body than people on Earth. Different kinds of cells make up
each part of your body. For example lots of skin cells join together
to form your skin.
|Each of your cells keeps its DNA in a special compartment called
the nucleus. Every cell in your body except red blood cells contains
a nucleus and a copy of your DNA.
|In the nucleus your DNA is wound up very tightly to form 23 pairs
|Each chromosome is made up of lots of genes. Your genes provide
instructions for building different parts of your body.
Record Your Characteristics
Characteristics are the things that help make you unique.
Write down the following characteristics about yourself:
Now make a chart to show the different eye colors that people in your class
- Eye color
- Hair color
- DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid
- DNA is found in all living things
- You are unique. No one will have exactly the same DNA as you
- If you took all of the DNA from a single human cell and laid all the
strands end to end it would be about 2 meters long
- All the cells in your body contain DNA except your red blood cells
- We share half of our DNA with bananas