Cells are the building blocks of the body. They provide structure, take in nutrients from food, and carry out specialised functions in the body.
Almost all of the body's trillions of cells contains a complete copy of a person's DNA information, packaged within thread-like structures called chromosomes. Most human cells contain 46 chromosomes – 23 from each parent. Sperm and egg cells contain 23 chromosomes.
Within a chromosome, DNA is wound tightly around proteins called histones. This DNA contains the instructions that guide how a cell functions, encoded within a sequence of units represented by the letters A, T, C and G. Sections of DNA known as genes are used to make proteins and other molecules that help the cell to carry out its specific functions.
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