The complementary four-base arrangement of the helix immediately suggested a possible copying mechanism for genetic material to pioneering scientists Crick and Watson. Of the properties of DNA, the most remarkable is its ability to copy itself perfectly.
Why do children look like their parents? Because the genetic information stored in DNA is passed on to the next generation. Perfect copies of human DNA are contained in the sperm or egg cells that form children. In fact, a sperm could be thought of as a 'package' of DNA and little else.
When humans reproduce, our DNA and therefore our characteristics pass from parent to child. You can read more about how the mysteries of inheritance puzzled scientists for years in the following scene.
SCENE: The scientific challenge of inheritance
Every cell in your body has a complete set of DNA, which copies itself to create new cells in the body as you grow or have to repair an injury.
Use the following activity to learn how DNA replicates, and create two new complete double helices from the original one.