People inherit chromosomes from both of their parents. These chromosomes are threadlike structures that make up a DNA molecule tightly coiled around proteins within the nucleus of each cell. We are generally born with 23 pairs of chromosomes, which can only be observed by cell division. Chromosomes make daily activities possible by keeping our DNA secure and allowing DNA to be accurately copied during cell division.
Why do cells divide? As we grow and age, cells need to divide for your body tissue to continually renew itself. Think about if you fall and scrape a knee or elbow – your cells divide to replace those damaged cells and heal. And organisms grow because these cells divide and produce more and more each time. Nearly two trillion cells divide every day within our bodies.
When Did DNA Testing Start?
The History of DNA
Back in the 1860s, a Swiss chemist named Friedrich Miescher identified DNA, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that deeper research began to find useful applications.
In the 1980s, there were two similar crimes of sexual assault and murder in Leicestershire, England. Since Alec Jeffreys, a genetics professor at a nearby university, had already discovered distinguishable patterns of similarity in DNA with the genetic fingerprint, police requested his assistance in solving these murders.
This was the time when DNA pattern recognition went from paternity and immigration cases to add crime scenes. Using blood and saliva samples from more than 4,000 men in the area, investigators could identify a suspect. Colin Pitchfork was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Not only did this DNA discovery lead to a discovery that the first suspect (a teenage male with learning disabilities) was not the culprit, but it also resulted in uncovering that Pitchfork had originally lied and submitted a friend’s DNA before being caught.
DNA evidence is widely used today, though it took years to create uniform testing procedures acceptable within the court system for legal proof.
The Human Genome Project
Jeffreys continued his DNA studies around the effects of radiation exposure. His colleagues went on to start mapping the human genome. This 13-year project brought researchers together to sequence and map all the genes of our species to better understand what makes up a human being. A successful attempt, the Human Genome Project covers gene accuracy to 99.99 percent.
Timeline of DNA Testing
1920s: Blood Typing
Certain proteins (antigens) make up the four different blood types in humans: A, AB, B, and O. Known as the ABO system, blood typing enables safer medical procedures such as blood transfusions.
1930s: Serological Testing
This was the discovery of other proteins on the surface of blood cells that are useful for identifying people. Other blood group systems, such as Rh, Kell, and Duffy, work alongside the ABO blood system to provide further biological details.
1980s: RFLP DNA Testing
Also known as Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism, RFLP analysis is the first genetic test to use DNA. Biological relationship questions can be resolved using enzymes to the DNA and then labeled DNA probes to identify specific regions.
1990s: PCR DNA Testing
As the replacement for RFLP analysis, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing took center stage. PCR analysis eliminates the need to collect blood, only requiring a small amount of DNA, such as a cheek swab. Not only does this make testing easier, but results also come faster – within one day if preferred.
2000s: SNP Arrays
Rather than testing relationships, SNPs are letter changes in the DNA.
SNP arrays offer information relating to:
- Predisposition to genetic disease
- Health and wellness
- Ancestry details
2010s: Next Generation Sequencing
Another relationship analysis method, NGS (Next Generation Sequencing), generates a DNA sequence. Several sequences can start in locations of the DNA that overlap, allowing for extensive data to generate about multiple people simultaneously. This information is useful for personalized medicine, genetic diseases, and clinical diagnostics.
With technological advancements, NGS technologies have massively reduced the cost and time required to sequence the human genome. Back when the human genome was first sequenced, it was at the cost of more than a million dollars. Now, it takes less than a week at about $100.
What Are B12 Injections?
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that plays a role in DNA production. Present in meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products, the human liver stores vitamin B12 over time. However, some individuals have a lower level of B12 or a higher risk of deficiency, making B12 shots a viable solution.
How quickly does a B12 shot work?
A form of supplementation, vitamin B12 shots are doctor-administered treatments. Injecting a shot of a synthetic version of vitamin B12 into the muscle can help alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of a B12 deficiency, such as:
- Memory issues
- Difficulty thinking
- Heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- Tingling sensation
- Mood changes
What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Many risk factors lead to lower levels of vitamin B12, from both natural and lifestyle choices.
Some of the factors that increase your risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Inflammation in the stomach
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Following a plant-based diet
- Multiple gastrointestinal surgeries
- Anyone 60 years and older
There is no limit on vitamin B12 intake due to the risk of overdose, but some side effects can happen. You might experience pain or redness at the injection site, swelling, temporary itching, or mild diarrhea.
Other risks from B12 are:
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary edema
- Heart failure
It’s important to monitor symptoms following injections and inform medical professionals about any prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to prevent unintentional interactions.
The benefits of vitamin B12 shots involve reducing the risk of:
- Heart disease
- Neurological disorders
- Memory issues
- Vision loss