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DNA

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a substance containing genetic information that is found inside the center (nucleus) of most body cells. DNA determines what features a person inherits from his or her parents, such as blood type, hair color, eye color, and other characteristics.

Chromosomes are parts of body cells that carry the DNA. The DNA of each chromosome is divided up into genes. Each person's DNA contains tens of thousands of genes.

Changes (mutations) can occur in the DNA of genes or chromosomes. These changes may be harmless and undetectable. Or the changes may affect certain body processes or functions to cause genetic conditions, such as hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, or Down syndrome.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.