The secret history of DNA: Pus, fish sperm, life as we know it : Short Wave It's been 150 years since the first article was published about the molecule key to life as we know it — DNA. With help from researcher Pravrutha Raman, Short Wave producer Berly McCoy explains how DNA is stored in our cells and why the iconic double helix shape isn't what you'd see if you peeked inside your cells right now.

Read more about the discovery of DNA: https://bit.ly/3wNe7hn

Curious about all the other biology that defines us? Email the show at shortwave@npr.org — we're all ears ... and eyes and toes and ... a lot of things. Thanks, DNA!

The secret history of DNA: Pus, fish sperm, life as we know it

The secret history of DNA: Pus, fish sperm, life as we know it

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This double-helix model of DNA is iconic, but not what you would see if you looked in your cells right now. BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty hide caption

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BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty

This double-helix model of DNA is iconic, but not what you would see if you looked in your cells right now.

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty

It's been 150 years since the first article was published about the molecule key to life as we know it — DNA. With help from researcher Pravrutha Raman, Short Wave producer Berly McCoy explains how DNA is stored in our cells and why the iconic double helix shape isn't what you'd see if you peeked inside your cells right now.

Read more about the discovery of DNA.

Curious about all the other biology that defines us? Email the show at shortwave@npr.org — we're all ears ... and eyes and toes and ... a lot of things. Thanks, DNA!

This story was produced by Eva Tesfaye and edited by Rebecca Ramirez. Margaret Cirino checked the facts. Stu Rushfield was the audio engineer.