It’s in our DNA: unlocking the genetic code to create a biological revolution

Whole-genome sequencing is a comprehensive method for analysing entire genomes and has been instrumental in identifying, for example, inherited disorders and the mutations that drive cancer development. Here, PerkinElmer genomics specialist Anona Bamford provides an insight into the enigma that is the study of deoxyribonucleic acid.

The phrase ‘it’s in our DNA’ can be heard everywhere from song lyrics to political speeches and even in corporate messaging – the everyday meaning centred around being an intrinsic part, innate or inbuilt. It imbues an essential part of nature and identity – wholesome, dependable, structurally sound.

               Of course, DNA is intrinsic. It’s the hereditary material that is in nearly every cell of the human body. It provides the instructions for making complex molecules, namely proteins, which provide structure, function and regulation in the body – so we can see from where this idiom springs.

               Since the discovery of this beautiful, structural design in the 1950s, advances in our understanding have influenced a number of critical research areas. DNA has been used for the detection of infectious pathogens, in forensics, in tumour biology and in the diagnosis of hereditary diseases. Indeed, unlocking the genetic code has changed the course of science and created a biological revolution equivalent to the moon landings.

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