DNA is an acronym that corresponds to deoxyribonucleic acid: the biopolymer that houses the data for the synthesis of proteins and that makes up the genetic material that cells have. Check abbreviationfinder for more definitions about DNA.
DNA can be said to present the genetic information that living things use to function. This nucleic acid also enables data to be transmitted through inheritance.
DNA is often compared to a code, as it acts as a guide to the instructions for building the rest of the cell’s components. Each segment of DNA that contains this data is called a gene.
Being a biopolymer, DNA is made up of multiple simple units that are related to each other, forming a chain. The different elements that make up DNA are nucleotides, which in turn are made up of a phosphate group, a nitrogenous base and a sugar.
Nucleotides are distinguished from each other according to the nitrogenous base, which can be guanine, cytosine, thymine or adenine. Depending on how these bases are arranged in the DNA chain, the encoding of the genetic data occurs.
The use of the data that houses the DNA requires that the information be copied first to ribonucleic acid (RNA). The copy is known as a transcript. RNA molecules are analyzed in the nuclei of cells and then leave the cytoplasm for use.
Scientific research on DNA allows the development of medical treatments and the modification of microorganisms, among many other issues.
There are various types of DNA related diseases. These are the so-called genetic diseases, that is, those that take place as a result of some alteration of the DNA. In general, they do not occur because they have acquired parental characters, that is, they are not related to the genes of the parents.
Within this group we can find the following:
* monogenic diseases: those that occur due to different DNA alterations or mutations in only one gene;
* polygenic diseases: they occur as a result of mutations in more than one gene, usually several chromosomes, in combination with various environmental factors;
* chromosomal diseases: they occur as a consequence of certain alterations in the chromosomes. One of the best known at the popular level is Down Syndrome, characterized by the existence of one more copy of chromosome 21;
* Mitochondrial diseases: These disorders are generated when the mitochondrial DNA is altered, and can cause problems in various parts of the body, since the mitochondria of the human body have their own DNA. In this case, only women can transfer the diseases.
One of the most common genetic diseases is cystic fibrosis, which tends to especially affect white individuals. Broadly speaking, it is characterized by the absence of a certain protein and the inability of the body to restrict the balance of chloride. Among its symptoms are lung infections and reproductive disorders. One of its peculiarities is that it only takes place when both parents are carriers.
On the other hand, there is Huntington’s disease (which usually appears simply with its acronym, HD). It causes the cells of the central nervous system and the brain to degenerate, with terrible consequences, such as difficulty swallowing, inability to control body movement, changes in behavior, memory loss, and difficulty maintaining balance and expressing oneself.
The Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a related illness with DNA. Generally, it manifests before 6 years of age, and is characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue, first in the legs and then in the rest of the body, until leaving the affected people prostrate in a wheelchair at the beginning of their adolescence.