6 Weird But True DNA Facts

24 July 2023
by Ancestry

Our DNA is amazing. And over the years scientists have discovered some stunning facts.

Here are 6 weird but true DNA facts.

1. Your DNA could stretch from the earth to the sun and back ~600 times.

If unwound and linked together, the strands of DNA in each of your cells would be 6 feet long. With 100 trillion cells in your body, that means if all your DNA were put end-to-end, it would stretch over 110 billion miles. That’s hundreds of round trips to the sun!

2. The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA.

DNA molecules are shaped like twisted ladders. And the rungs on that ladder are made of bases – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) – locked together in pairs with hydrogen bonds. The really cool part is, they pair up in a very specific way: ‘A’ always pairs with ‘T,’ and ‘C’ always pairs with ‘G.’

3. We’re all 99.9 percent alike.

Of the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, only 0.1% are unique to us. While that 0.1% is still what makes us unique, it means we’re all more similar than we are different.

4. Genes make up only about 3 percent of your DNA.

Genes are short segments of DNA, but not all DNA is genes. All told, genes are only about 1-3% of your DNA. The rest of your DNA controls the activity of your genes.

5. A DNA test can reveal you’re more Irish than your siblings.

Your sister could be much more Irish than you. And this is true for any of over 2,600 regions covered by the AncestryDNA test. So your sibling could also be more (or less) British, Nigerian, or Scandinavian than you.

6. Your DNA could link you to places you’d never imagine.

Genetics has the power to tell you things you never dreamed of knowing, from just the DNA in your saliva.

With an AncestryDNA test, for example, you can find out which world regions your ancestors may have lived in hundreds to thousands of years ago, what bonded them over generations, and why and where they moved to—all from your DNA.


Sources: 1 – NOVA; 2 – National Human Genome Research Institute; 3- Scientific American; 4- Ancestry; 5 – National Human Genome Research Institute; 6 – Ancestry