Rights: The Royal Society, TVNZ 7 in partnership with the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology Published 15 December 2010 Download

This is a simple explanation of what a genome is and the significance of DNA sequencing.

This one minute animated video from TVNZ aims to demystifies commonly used, but little understood scientific and technological jargon.


What is a genome?

The total DNA sequence that characterises every species on earth, including ourselves.

If we could journey into the nucleus at the centre of a human cell, we would see 23 pairs of chromosomes.

Each chromosome contains a long coil of DNA – sections of this DNA are what we refer to as ‘genes’. Genes carry the instructions for making proteins which help our bodies function.

The DNA double helix contains four kinds of building blocks – but their order dictates the diversity of all life– whether you are a human or a fruit fly.

The human genome is a blue print comprised of 3 billion DNA building blocks.

The human genome for every person on the planet is 99.9% the same.

Investigating the differences between our individual genomes could lead to new ways to diagnose, treat, and someday prevent thousands of illnesses.

And that’s a genome.