What is DNA?
Imagine your body is a computer. It needs lots
of bits to make it work, but most importantly it needs a computer
The computer programme can only work with code,
which helps make the computer work.
DNA (which stands for Deoxyribonucleic acid) is
like the computer programme, except it is found in all living things.
DNA contains the instructions for a living thing
to grow and to work. These instructions are like the code in a computer
programme, and in living things are called genes.
What did the Norfolk scientists discover?
at the John Innes Centre in Norwich were part of an international
team that spent more than four years looking at the DNA of a weed
cress (or Arabidopsis
John Innes Centre is a very important place for research and training
in plant and microbial science.
believe that understanding the DNA code of thale cress is important
because it could help make many changes to farming.
could use their research to help stop crops dying from disease and
could even give help scientists learn more about human health.
Plant and animal biology are similar and this means
that work on DNA could also help us understand the human body.
the scientists at the John Innes Centre found the DNA to the weed,
they are able to study all the genes in one plant at one time.
plant's genes have already helped scientists to
protect crops like wheat, from disease.
The research will also help scientists understand
why some plants survive and others die.
For example, experts are working on a study that
compares Genetically Modified (GM) and non GM crops under drought
and non-drought conditions.
By Sheila McKeown, a librarian at the Millennium Library in
Genetics by Richard Beatty. Hodder Wayland
2001. ISBN 075023380x.
Genetics: Present Knowledge, Future Trends,
by Moira Butterfield. Watts 2002, ISBN 0749645873.
You can get hold of these books through
your local library.
Read more: CBBC
Newsround: Children break DNA model record »
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