10 Mind-Shattering Facts About Human DNA

A single human hair is 100,000 nanometers across. A DNA molecule is only two nanometers in diameter. How can something so small do so much?! For more mind-shattering facts about DNA, visit AncestryDNA!

1. A mutation found in the DNA of a 115-year-old woman can reverse the effects of aging!

Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper died at the age of 115 in relatively good health and was selfless enough to donate her body to science. What scientists found led them to believe that one day it might be possible to slow down the aging process by saving stem cells throughout a person’s lifetime and replenishing them as they deplete at an older age.

2. If written out, a single human’s DNA sequence would fill 200 1,000-page NYC telephone directories.

This entire genome is copied in every cell of our body with just one exception.

3. If you lined up all the DNA molecules in your body end to end, they would reach from the Earth to the sun and back hundreds of times!

To put that into perspective, the sun is approximately 98 million miles away from Earth.

4. Men used to have a DNA code that made their penises spiny.

Six million years ago, men had “penile spine enhancers” to aid in reproduction. Thankfully, that code was shed from our DNA before our ancestors split into modern humans and Neanderthals.

5. Everyone in the world shares 99.9% of the same DNA!

A simple fact that’s actually SO CRAZY. Look left and right and all around you — only .01% is what makes you different from everyone around you.

6. One person can have two sets of DNA, which is known as Chimerism.

The name comes from Chimera, a Greek mythological creature that’s part lioness, part snake, and part goat. This usually happens in the case of twins and can result in unusual development of sexual organs if the twins are of different sexes.

7. There is a genetic mutation known as CCR5-Δ32 that can lead to the first preventative cure for HIV!

FoxADHD / Via foxadhd.com

The mutation inhibits HIV’s ability to enter your immune cells. 1% of Northern Europeans carry CCR5-Δ32 and are immune to HIV infection. Understanding the mutation better can lead to possible HIV treatments in our lifetime!

8. There is an Immortality Drive in space containing the digitized DNA sequences of “important” people.

Tyler Kaufman / Getty Images

Stephen Lovekin / Staff / Getty Images

Chad Buchanan / Stringer / Getty Images


The chosen sequences belong to the likes of Stephen Hawking, Stephen Colbert, Lance Armstrong, and Playboy model Jo Garcia. The DNA of these select individuals is intended to repopulate the Earth in case of a global cataclysm.

9. The DNA of a 20-year-old girl who never aged might be the key to the fountain of youth.

Times Online.com GDA Photo Service / Newscom

Brooke Greenberg (pictured on the left at age 16) had a rare case of Syndrome X, a disorder that prevented her from aging. Doctors say that if they could identify the gene that drastically slowed Brooke’s development process, they could hypothetically stop physical development at any age.

10. Your DNA is damaged up to one million times per day, per cell!

Your body is magnificent and is constantly repairing these lesions. Without this intricate repair process, we would all be very sick, if not dead.

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