[Felicia:] Hi, I'm Felicia. [Caitlin:] And I'm Caitlin, but you can call me Cait. [Felicia:] We're here to talk about a three letter word: DNA. [Caitlin:] That's not actually a word. It's just three letters that stand for deoxyribonucleic. [Felicia:] Cait, we talked about this. Don't nerd out already. We just got here. [Caitlin:] Sorry. DNA is in everything. [Felicia:] It's in whales, [Caitlin:] snails, [Felicia:] frogs, [Caitlin:] and dogs. [Felicia:] Germs. [Caitlin:] Worms. [Felicia:] Oranges. [Caitlin:] Door hinges? [Felicia:] Ha, ha. [Caitlin:] You walked right into that one. There's no DNA in door hinges, but it is in all living things. DNA is also in the news, in movies, in medical treatments. [Caitlin:] It's on CSI. [Felicia:] Blood spatter, bits of skin and hair at the crime scene. [Caitlin:] Clever scientist in the lab identifying the perps. Remember back in 1995? Forensic DNA was a big part of the OJ Simpson trial. [Felicia:] The bloody footprints and the stains on the gate? Of course, I remember that. It was all about football and science and murder. But the CSI stuff is just one way DNA rocks our world. You can even use DNA to trace your ancestors like your great, great grandmother. [Caitlin:] She was a Celtic princess. [Felicia:] Oh, that's what everybody thinks or a Norse King or something. [Caitlin:] It's true. I bought a kit, sent off some spit and the data doesn't lie. [Felicia:] If you say so. You can do a lot of things with DNA even though it's just this tiny, little speck of goo inside all our cells. It's so cool! [Caitlin:] So, you've probably been wondering what is this DNA stuff anyway and why is it capturing headlines? Why is it all over TV news? And how about genetically modified food? [Felicia:] Maybe you're a mom-to-be or an archaeology buff. [Caitlin:] Maybe you're fascinated by forensics, or you're interested in your ancestors, or you want to know if that dog you rescued from the shelter is really a poodle, or you just wonder what makes GMOs, GMOs. [Felicia:] The label? [Caitlin:] Not quite, but I'll set you straight on that later. [Felicia:] Or perhaps, you're just generally DNA curious. [Caitlin:] Well, you've come to the right course because this is. [Both:] DNA Decoded. [Music] [Felicia:] Okay, DNA. Yes, here we go. [Caitlin:] You probably recognize this iconic double helix from all sorts of science fiction movies. [Felicia:] Like Jurassic Park [Caitlin:] But haven't you ever wondered how this amazing molecule, which looks like a twisted ladder, manages to be so important in making us, us and you, you? [Felicia:] How is it possible that this little double helix can contain all the information the cell needs to make livers, hearts, leaves, and chicken feet? How could a little change in DNA give the X-Men their powers? [Caitlin:] You lost me. [Felicia:] Mutants, mutations, altered DNA. Work with me. [Caitlin:] Ignore her. [Felicia:] This DNA molecule may look like a tiny ladder. But those little rungs in there? [Caitlin:] They're called base pairs. Well actually, they're nucleotides or dNTPs because the nucleobases are bound together with.... [Felicia:] Whoa. Whoa. Too much information again. They contain the code that controls things like your hair colour: red. The information carried in the rungs of this twisted ladder is the stuff life is made of. [Caitlin:] You can think of the DNA molecule as a blueprint for life. More specifically, DNA is the instruction manual for creating molecules called proteins. Proteins are the end product of our DNA. Proteins carry out all functions in our cells, from building to maintenance, even demolition. But whatever they do, they're all built from the code inside our DNA. Okay, now deoxyribonucleic acid... [Felicia:] Cait, Cait, too soon. Don't worry we'll get to all of that in time. [Caitlin:] All right. In this course, we'll decode and unravel the mysteries of DNA. How DNA is able to copy itself. [Felicia:] How DNA mutations happen. [Caitlin:] How the DNA code is used to make proteins. [Felicia:] How scientists manipulate DNA. [Caitlin:] Why criminals can get caught by leaving a drop of blood or hair behind at the crime scene. [Felicia:] And how scientists -- [Caitlin:] Like us -- might be able to use decoded DNA to develop new treatments for a range of different diseases [Felicia:] And to understand more about our ancestors and how we evolved as a species and also really, what I'm the most excited about... mutants! [Caitlin:] I'm shocked. [Felicia:] Don't worry, we'll take this one step at a time. [Caitlin:] I saw what you did there. [Felicia:] It's not hard when you grasp the basic concepts and, besides, you'll have us to explain it. [Caitlin:] Me, mostly. [Felicia:] Me, mostly. [Caitlin:] Together, sort of like base pairs. [Felicia:] Oh, I like it. Did you just make that up? [Caitlin:] It's a gift. [Felicia:] Base pairs: different but bonded together. Nerd joke! [Caitlin:] Join us as we help you crack the code of life. This week you'll embark on an amazing journey to discover: [Felicia:] What is DNA? [Caitlin:] What are the basic building blocks of DNA? [Felicia:] Why is DNA a helix and why is that so important? [Caitlin:] Where is DNA in the cell and how is it organized? [Felicia:] What are you waiting for? [Caitlin:] Let's get started! [Felicia:] Really? A Celtic princess? [Caitlin:] Yes, it's true.