Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions specifying the biological development of all cellular forms of life (and many viruses). DNA is often referred to as the molecule of heredity, as it is responsible for the genetic propagation of most inherited traits . During reproduction, DNA is replicated and transmitted to the offspring.
DNA is a basic building block of life and it contains all the information that living things need to function correctly.
DNA is the carrier of our genetic information, which passes from generation to generation. Every cell in our bodies, except red blood cells, contains a copy of our DNA. At conception, a person receives DNA from both their father and mother. We each have 23 pairs of chromosomes, and for each pair, one was received from the father and one was received from the mother. These 23 pairs of chromosomes are known as nuclear DNA, since they reside in the nucleus of every cell, except red blood cells. The 23rd chromosome is known as the sex chromosome. As with the other chromosomes, one is inherited from the father, and one from the mother. The 23rd chromosome from the mother is always an X. From the father, a person either inherits an X chromosome or a Y chromosome. The chromosome inherited from the father determines their sex. An X from the father would result in an XX which is a female, and a Y from the father would result in an XY, which is a male.
DNA Glossary (This glossary was developed by John Chandler, our DNA expert and Chandler DNA Project Co-Administrator, for a different project.)
DNA Testing for Genealogy – Getting Started by genetic genealogist CeCe Moore