We are different
because we all have
DNA is made up of a repeating set of chemicals usually abbreviated as A, G, C, and T. These letters are the raw stuff of genes. Each gene has a certain number of these letters in a certain order.
A gene has the instructions for making a specific protein. Each of these proteins then does a specific job in the cell. They carry oxygen, help digest our food, and let us see, hear, breathe and even think.
One way that people are different is in the letters of their DNA. On average, one person has around 6 million different letters (out of 6 billion) compared to someone else.
If one of these differences is in a gene, it can cause the protein to be made to act differently. For example, this kind of change can cause one person to make a protein that causes brown eyes. Or it can cause another person to make a protein that gives him or her blue eyes.
Another reason people are different is in how they use their genes. Some people might have a certain gene turned way up so that it makes lots of protein. Others might have the same gene turned down so they make less protein.
Part of this can come from differences in letters. But part can come from differences in methylation too.
Methylation can hide a gene from the cell making it harder to read. This means that a methylated gene gets read less often or not at all. Which means little or even no protein gets made. So changes in methylation might cause changes in how some genes are used.
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