DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) helps to make you who you are. It is like a tiny instruction manual in each of your cells. DNA tells them how they should assemble your body. Your DNA determines what you will look like, and it even has a strong influence on your personality.
DNA is very similar from one human to another. In fact, scientists believe that the DNA of all humans is around 99 percent identical. It’s that one percent difference that makes us unique individuals. And if that wasn’t crazy enough, some studies claim that humans and chimpanzees have DNA that is 96 percent identical. Thus, a difference of one percent can make you bald, but four percent can have you swinging from the trees!
A DNA strand is called a "helix," and it looks like a pair of coiled strings. Each helix contains information in the form of chemicals. These chemicals are complicated instructions for the cells in your body. Since the instructions are very complicated, there can sometimes be mistakes when the DNA helix copies itself. This is called a "mutation." Mutations are slight changes in someone’s DNA, and these changes can be responsible for serious diseases and other problems. Cancer is one such example. DNA mutations can dramatically increase a person’s chance of developing cancer later in life.
Scientists have only recently been able to map out the entire DNA helix. This has helped them discover new ways to repair problems in people’s DNA. However some people believe that continued DNA research could create negative consequences, like human cloning. Therefore, we should always keep this in mind and be cautious in our future DNA research.