Disclosure statement

Merlin Crossley works for the university of new South Wales. He receives funding from the Australian research Council and also the national Health and Medical study Council.

You are watching: Is there dna in your food




I am certain because practically all the food us eat has DNA and also lots that it. The factor is simple. Organisms space not constructed of consistent matter like plasticine, us are comprised of small balloons called cells.

Ancient stories explain how world were fashioned native clay but actually that is more like gift made that Lego blocks. Bacteria space single-celled organisms, many animals and also plants are multi-celled organisms. Cats room bigger 보다 mice since they have much more cells.

In a sense, we room all choose Lego constructions.

And this is the amazing component – basically every cell has actually its very own DNA (its own genetic information or genome) and also each cabinet in her body carries her genome. So every block is an ext like a smartphone than a balloon – every block has its own computer code or DNA genome.

In facility organisms each cell has actually the very same DNA however interestingly various genes are active in various bodily organs. Think of gene as various apps on a smartphone – so all the smartphones that make up your liver will have actually one set of apps on, and also your muscle cells will certainly be making use of a different set of apps.

In plants, different apps (genes) are on in leaves and also roots however all the cells of a plant lug the same set of genes, i.e. The very same genome.

So whether you are a vegetarian who eats lettuce and cauliflower or one omnivore who eats steak and also kidney pies, you are eating cells, and also each cell consists of DNA which in turn contains the whole genetic info or the totality genome of each species you eat.

The only living parts that nothing contain DNA room things prefer egg whites or filtered milk that space there for energy storage, or blood juices in which our blood cell float.


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DNA is pushed out that hair when it creates so hair doesn’t have actually much – if any – DNA, however hair root do, and in mammals red blood cell (but no white blood cells) push out their DNA as they mature so they deserve to squeeze follow me tiny blood vessels.

But most parts that animals and also plants are made up of cell containing DNA. This is why police deserve to identify suspects from either a fall of blood or a hair source at a crime scene. Lock could additionally identify a lettuce or a strawberry native a leaf or from the fruit.

If girlfriend eat a 3 course enjoy the meal – oysters for starters, chicken and also asparagus together a main, and fruit salad because that dessert, you are eating too many of different DNA.

Can DNA from food get into my own DNA?

Basically, DNA, prefer proteins and complex carbohydrates, gets broken down into pieces – this is what digestion is all about. Your this mash the up and also enzymes throughout your digestive tract reduced it come pieces.

Enzymes created by her pancreas dubbed DNases room specially design to rest the DNA into tiny piece that have the right to be take away up right into your blood and then lugged around and used by other cells come build new molecular structures in your body – consisting of possibly your own DNA.

Could any of the genes, from any of the organisms you eat, acquire into your DNA and do girlfriend harm? that a reasonable question, however the answer seems to be no. Imagine girlfriend dropped a smartphone in a blender or ate the (please don’t) – all the contents would be mashed up.


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When you eat and digest DNA it seems that the long coding sequences, the narratives or the apps the specify gene products, room so reduced up that they can no longer function as hereditary material. Over there are few if any sentences left, just letters or fragments of words.

Even if part sentences did make it through your digestive mechanism it is i can not qualify they would get in your cells or injury you in any way.

Our human being is awash v DNA and always has been yet there is no clear proof that eat DNA can damage you.

Genetically modified organisms

So what around genetically modified biology or GMOs? space they safe to eat too?

I definitely think so. If you ate a fish with a gene native a strawberry or a strawberry through a gene from a fish, come me that is no various from eating fish because that the main course and also strawberries for dessert.

I nothing think eat DNA or any mix of various DNAs from different types could carry out us harm.

To convince yourself that DNA is consisted of in food you have the right to do a basic experiment in ~ home. You have the right to extract DNA from new strawberries.

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I i will not ~ eat the DNA alone though. As soon as wet that is slimy and when dried it looks prefer cotton wool. But when combined with the other contents of strawberry it is undetectable and harmless, and also strawberries taste an excellent as lock are.