It was one of the biggest scientific discoveries of 1869 when a Swiss scientist, Friedrich Miescher found the microscopic substance in pus on discarded bandages. For many years this great discovery, DNA was of little or no significance to anyone outside a laboratory producing only occasional stirs which were mostly appreciated among those in the academic and scientific fields. Today however it is a totally different story with DNA influencing and impacting on almost every area of our lives. It has truly been a long journey and each day we continue to hear of greater break through thanks to DNA science.
DNA is the commonly used abbreviation for Deoxyribonucleic acid. Deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule found in all living organisms and is the molecule is which determines biological development and functioning. It has great influence on metabolism, growth, immunity and other such properties. DNA contains genetically transferred, coded instructions that dictate the biological construction and operations of cells within the body. Being genetically transferred means that any two biologically related people will have DNA that can be matched to a certain percentage depending on how closely they are related. It is also the reason why those who are biologically related will usually have some similar physical characteristics such as weight and height. There are those who have claimed that DNA has an influence on intelligence and other similar qualities though this is yet to be conclusively proven.
The science behind DNA is complicated and this is one of the reasons for its slow development into application outside the laboratories. It will usually take a long time and serious capital investment to develop a DNA based theory to experimental level. There has also been a lot of controversy regarding some of the proposed uses of this kind of science with many questions arising over ethical standards and moral issues. DNA science has however also been of great benefit in the development of treatments, agriculture, forensics and so much more. DNA is also used in confirming lineage and is one of the leading sources of evidence in criminal cases. It has also helped explain certain qualities such as resistance or susceptibility to diseases which can then be applied in the development of cures or vaccines.
Of all the applications of DNA science, the most controversial is that which involves genetic engineering. Here, scientists alter the natural genetic material of an organism so as to introduce certain desired qualities without having to go through the process of gradual breeding or mutagenesis. While many have argued that genetic engineering produces superior organisms, there are those that believe it is unnatural and even associate genetically modified organisms with a number of diseases and conditions.
In the coming years we can expect a lot more progress in this field as scientist continue to gain a greater understanding of DNA, how it works, its influence on us and the environment as well as the best ways to make use of this very important part of every life form.