9 Interesting Facts About DNA

DNA is a special code that guides your body in growing, learning, and doing all the amazing things you do. Let’s unravel the interesting facts of your DNA!

Fun facts about DNA

DNA is the nickname for deoxyribonucleic acid, an important molecule that holds information about your body and personality.

So, what exactly is DNA? Think of DNA as a recipe book with pages of instructions about your life.

Fact #1: DNA determines your looks.

Fact- DNA determines your looks

It’s true: your DNA decides everything from your eye shape to your skin color.

DNA is made of over 20,000 genes, which are the instructions for your body’s appearance. Half of your genes are from your biological mother; the other half are from your biological father. That’s why people usually look like a mix of their biological parents.

Fact #2: Humans are 99% alike.

Despite our diverse appearances and personalities, humans are astonishingly similar at a genetic level. In fact, 99% of human DNA is the same.

People are more alike than different! But that 1% difference makes you unique.

Fact #3: We’re similar to chimpanzees.

When it comes to animals, chimpanzees are the most similar to humans, with 99% identical DNA. That’s why primates can get sick with similar infections like the common cold.

Fact #4: DNA is in your cells.

cell dna gene chromosome labeled diagram
Inside a cell

Most of your incredible DNA is in the nucleus of the cells in your body. Some DNA is in the mitochondria of your cells, too.

Fact #5: Red blood cells have no DNA.

Red blood cells
Red blood cells

Hold up! There’s one exception to the DNA fact you just learned! Red blood cells carry oxygen in your blood vessels but don’t have DNA. Red blood cells don’t even have a nucleus.

Fact #6: DNA is 6 feet long.

What if you could stretch out the DNA in each human cell? It would measure an impressive 6 feet (2 meters) long. That’s taller than the average person!

If you could stretch out all the DNA in your cells, it would reach the sun and back more than 300 times!

Fact #7: It’s shaped like a spiral staircase

DIY 3-dimensional DNA model for kids

If you could see DNA close-up, it would look like a twisted ladder or spiral staircase.

Scientists commonly describe this elegant DNA structure as a double helix.

You can make a DNA model at home or school with simple materials!

Discover the fun steps from the Human Body Learning Lab book.

Fact #8: DNA is folded into small packages.

How does all that amazing DNA fit inside the human body? It’s like an origami masterpiece! The double helix is folded tightly to fit in your cell’s nucleus.

Fact #9: DNA can duplicate.

cells dividing, DNA duplicating
One cell dividing into two cells

When cells in your body need to grow or repair, they divide and make new cells. This process is called cell division.

As cells divide, DNA makes an exact copy of itself, so new cells have the same DNA. This process is called DNA duplication.

More fun facts about human anatomy!

Human Body Learning has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on information from peer-reviewed research studies, academic institutions, and medical associations.

Published on November 28, 2023. Updated on February 15, 2024 by Betty Choi, MD

Published on November 28, 2023. Updated on February 15, 2024 by Betty Choi, MD

Dr. Betty Choi pediatrician

Betty Choi, MD

Dr. Betty Choi is a Harvard-trained pediatrician who makes learning fun and doable. She created the kids’ anatomy book Human Body Learning Lab, which Science Magazine recommended as a “notable standout in the genre.”