Each of us has our own unique DNA — long molecules that carry instructions for how to make and run our bodies. DNA is made up of four chemicals called nucleotides. They pair up with each other to form a sequence. Those nucleotides are adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine (or A, C, G and T). Adenine pairs up with thymine. Cytosine pairs with guanine. Our cells decode enormously long sequences of those pairings to get directions for what proteins to make.
Now, scientists can take cells from any living organism and perform DNA sequencing — matching each nucleotide up with its pair. This process allows scientists to determine exactly what each DNA strand “says.” Determining the DNA sequence helps scientists answer important questions — from what species the sample came from to what instructions the strand of DNA might contain.
In a sentence
A teen used DNA sequencing to find out which bacteria in a worm’s gut could digest plastic.