Molecule Advent Day 1: DNA

“AND the next generation”

We’re celebrating the run-up to Christmas with a series of blogs about 24 of the world’s most important molecules!

We’ve been exploring how the world’s most important molecules are in all of our everyday lives and the world around us, join us as we delve into the  nanoscopic world of molecules and find out about the epic stories and fascinating facts around them. In every post you will find snippets from the poem nullius in Verba, written by Janey McLeod at our Science Educator Residency in July 2016.

We will be counting down to Christmas Eve and if you’ve been especially good this year, we might send you a special Christmas gift!

Each member of the Interactive Scientific team have created blogs about our featured molecules and to kick us off, we have Mark Wonnacott, Developer with DNA!

Each cell in our body contains two metres of DNA, but how do we fit it all in there?

There are more cells in your body than you can imagine, so to fit inside you they’ve got to be pretty small – but somehow each one contains a length of DNA that’s taller than your whole body!

Christmas Countdown: DNA and the next generation

The trick is that DNA is tightly coiled on multiple levels: a single strand of DNA coils tightly around little balls called “histones” to form a necklace-like structure. That necklace is then coiled like a slinky into a thicker cord, but then that cord is itself coiled again until it finally forms a “chromosome” – at this point it’s thick enough that you can even see it under a microscope!