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Note: This factsheet has been designed as a post-session handout for learners taking part in a Genomics Game session, but can also be used as learning resources in other settings. See the full collection here.

Key facts

  • The human genome is made up of a biological molecule called DNA, which stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.
  • Most of our DNA is packed into the nucleus of the cell in structures called chromosomes. Most human cells have 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs.
  • We get one half of each chromosome pair from our mother and the other from our father.
  • Genes are small specific sections of DNA within the genome that provide the instructions to make biological molecules, such as proteins.

Did you know?

  • We have a copy of our genome in nearly every cell in our body. So, in theory, DNA can be extracted from any material containing cells, for instance hair roots, skin cells, bone marrow and blood.
  • DNA is made up of four chemical letters A, T, C and G. The human genome contains more than 3 billion of these letters.
  • The human genome contains about 20,000 protein-coding genes.
  • Cells are the basic building blocks of living things. The human body is made of trillions of cells, all with their own special function.

Find out more

Watch our animation: What is DNA?


Publication type

Education and training resources

Genomics Game

First published

27th June 2019

Page updated

18th November 2019

Document Download

Game factsheet 2: DNA, genes and chromosomes