“The capacity of blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA, without this special attribute, we would still be anerobic bacteria and there would be no music”
— Lewis Thomas
While I was working on identifying my purpose and the unique skills and talents to achieve the purpose, many posed this question: Is our purpose and our journey to achieve it always related with the spiritual and the esoteric aspects?
This led me to think and explore it further. The answer that I received was that purpose is not just limited to the spiritual or esoteric aspects because even scientifically there is a purpose of why we are here on this planet. For biological organisms’ genes are merely a means to an end. The “purpose” of life is life. To elaborate, the purpose of life is to produce further life within the domain of natural sciences. From a physics perspective we are matter, that is energy.
Over time science has proven that each one of us is born unique; well we all have a unique DNA; even identical twins do not have identical DNA. This reinforces the fact that we are unique, special and common yet uncommon. There is this one small ingredient in our cells that is unique and differentiates us from others.
What is DNA? – Wikipedia says “DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the molecule that contains the genetic code of organisms. This includes animals, plants, protists, archaea and bacteria. DNA is in every cell within the organism and tells cells what proteins to form. Mostly, these proteins are enzymes. DNA is inherited; therefore, children share traits with their parents, such as skin, hair and eye color. The DNA in a person is a combination of DNA from each of their parents.”
Our bodies have around 210 different types of cells. Each cell does a different job to help our body to function. There are blood cells, bone cells, and cells that make our muscles. Cells get their instructions on what to do from DNA. DNA acts sort of like a computer program. The cell is the computer, or the hardware and the DNA is the program or code.
DNA is a long thin molecule made up of something called nucleotides. There are four different types of nucleotides: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. They are usually represented by their first letter:
- A – adenine
- T- thymine
- C – cytosine
- G – guanine
Holding the nucleotides together is a backbone made of phosphate and deoxyribose. The nucleotides are sometimes referred to as “bases”.
Our bodies have around 210 different types of cells. Each cell does a different job to help our body to function. There are blood cells, bone cells, and cells that make our muscles.
Cells get their instructions on what do to from DNA, which sort of acts like a computer program. The cell is the computer or the hardware and the DNA is the program or code.
The DNA code is held by the different letters of the nucleotides. As the cell “reads” the instructions on the DNA the different letters represent instructions. Every three letters makes up a word called a codon and a string of codons may look like this:
ATC TGA GGA AAT GAC CAG
Even though there are only four different letters, DNA molecules are thousands of letters long. This allows for billions and billions of different combinations.
Within each string of DNA are sets of instructions called genes. A gene tells a cell how to make a specific protein, which are used by the cell to perform certain functions, to grow, and to survive.
Although DNA looks like very thin long strings under a microscope, it turns out that DNA has a specific shape. This shape is called a double helix, whereby on the outside of the double helix is the backbone which holds the DNA together. There are two sets of backbones that twist together. Between the backbones are the nucleotides represented by the letters A, T, C, and G. A different nucleotide connects to each backbone and then connects to another nucleotide in the center.
Only certain sets of nucleotides can fit together. You can think of them like puzzle pieces: A only connects with T and G only connects with C.
It is said that humans are 99.9% identical and what makes us unique is the meagre 0.1% of our genome. This may look very insignificant but we must understand that though this looks small, the human genome is made of almost three billion base pairs- which means 0.1% is still equivalent to the three million base pairs.
In these three million differentiators lies the changes that give you your identity, your hair color that is today, color of your eyes and so on. 99.9% of the genome is fixed, the 0.1% of the DNA that is different between people is not the same 0.1%. Variations could happen anywhere in our genomes.
Imagine that our DNA is like a car. Within the car you can have different variants like the color of the car, whether it’s a convertible, a sedan, hatch-back; a two – door or a four – door. These changes in the car represent the 0.1%; the other 99.9% is the engine, the steering wheel, the tires and the seats – this has to be there for the car to work and we assume these are all fixed.
In short DNA is a long molecule that contains your unique genetic code and it is unique for each organism. Just like a recipe book, your DNA holds all the directives for making all the proteins in your body and giving instructions telling your body how to develop and how to function.
Therefore, scientifically your DNA makes you a unique person. Science and esoteric studies have proven over time our uniqueness, so let’s constantly keep this in mind and remember that we are unique, special and most importantly common yet uncommon.