DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses. If that sounds too scientific to be relevant, let’s make it relevant.
About 99% of our cells have the same DNA made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences.
DNA bases pair up with each other, A with T and C with G, to form units called base pairs. Each base is also attached to a sugar molecule and a phosphate molecule. Together, a base, sugar, and phosphate are called a nucleotide. Nucleotides are arranged in two long strands that form a spiral called a double helix. The structure of the double helix is somewhat like a ladder, with the base pairs forming the ladder’s rungs and the sugar and phosphate molecules forming the vertical sidepieces of the ladder.
An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. The reason elephants give birth to elephants and humans give birth to humans is because the DNA copies itself. During sexual reproduction, organisms receive half of their DNA from the male and half from the female.
What does DNA do for us?
DNA contains instructions for organisms to survive, reproduce, and develop. DNA sequences must be converted into messages that can be used to produce proteins, which are the complex molecules that do most of the work in our bodies.
Because our bodies each have different messages, we have different dietary needs. In other words, our DNA determines what each person’s body needs to thrive.
Since DNA is different for each person, every single person could have a different set of ideal food type and quantity intake. For instance, what’s best for you may be different from what’s best for your neighbor. Therefore, it is important to understand your specific DNA and what foods are best for your body.