Our genetic material – the DNA – is truly an amazing structure responsible for everything that makes us, us. It has been compared to a blueprint in that it contains all the instructions and information necessary to build a new person, from the color of the eyes to the size of the nose.
But why is it called a blueprint? Let us explore this fascinating mystery to uncover just why DNA is so important and why it so aptly fits the description of a blueprint.
Why is DNA Called a Blueprint?DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the chemical compound found in the nucleus of all living organisms.
It contains the genetic instructions for how the organism will develop and function during its life. DNA is often referred to as the building blocks or codes of life because it contains all the information needed to create and maintain a living creature. DNA stores this information in the form of a genetic code, which is passed on to the organism’s descendents.
This code is like a blueprint that tells the organism which proteins to produce, how to grow, develop, and reproduce.
What is a Blueprint?
A blueprint is any diagram, chart, plans, or other visual representation used to plan a project or process. Blueprints are often used in construction, engineering, and other fields to provide an effective way to communicate ideas or instructions. In much the same way, DNA can be thought of as a blueprint because it contains instructions for creating a living organism.
For example, the DNA in any given cell contains instructions for the cell’s metabolism, structure, and organization. The DNA of a plant contains instructions for how the plant should develop, while the DNA of an animal contains instructions for the animal’s development and its behaviors.
The Structure of DNAThe structure of DNA also contributes to its nickname as the blueprint of life.
DNA is made up of two intertwined strands known as a double helix. These strands contain protein-encoding molecules known as nucleotides.
The order, or sequence, of these nucleotides is what makes up the body’s genetic code. Each nucleotide contains a unique combination of four molecules known as adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T), and guanine (G). It is the combination of these four nucleotides, known as the “genetic alphabet,” that forms the instructions found in the body’s DNA.