Asked • 05/06/19

Does our DNA change during our lives?

As far as I know, DNA is the construction protocol of all organisms on Earth. Does it change when influenced by time and environment (physical laws)? As parents with schizophrenia are more likely to have children with schizophrenia and an individual with no genetic predisposition for schizophrenia can suffer from such a condition because of drug abuse or environmental influence, does this prove that human DNA is changing during our lifespan?

Amy F.

Yes, our DNA is constantly undergoing small changes. Some of these changes are due to the environment (pollution, mutagents, etc.) but others are completely natural and there's nothing we can do about it. For example, the enzymes that replicate our DNA are very good, but they are not perfect. Therefore every time a cell divides, there are a some mutations in the DNA sequence. Most of these changes don't do anything, but if they occur in within a critical region of a gene they can cause cancer or another disorder. DNA expression (ie making RNA and protein from a gene) also changes throughout our lifetime due to epigenetics. These are chemical modifications on the DNA which can change whether or not a gene is expressed or how much of it is expressed, etc.


1 Expert Answer


Jesse E. answered • 06/11/19

Chemist specializing in tutoring in biology, math, and chemistry.

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