Exploring Our Molecular Selves
Cell Diagram

Credit: NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

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The complexity and patterns of human variation are easier to understand with knowledge of some basic genetic terms. Here's what you
need to know:

Cell: The smallest unit of life. Our human bodies are composed of more than 100 trillion cells. Inside the cell membrane is the nucleus. The cell nucleus is surrounded by cytoplasm.

Chromosome: Long strands of DNA found inside the cell nucleus. Human cells each contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, inherited from our parents.

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid): The molecule that encodes heredity information.

Gene: a unique combination of bases that creates a specific part of our body.

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