How does DNA know which job to do in each cell?

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A copy of your DNA is harbored in the nuclei of all 37.2 trillion of your cells. Theoretically, all of these cells have the same capabilities, because they carry the same blueprint. So how does your DNA know when it’s in a blood cell versus an olfactory cell, for example? How does it know which genes need to be “switched on”? How does a cell know and carry out its function?

Like all things DNA-related, it is a multifactorial and highly regulated process. In humans and other organisms with eukaryotic cells (which have an enclosed nucleus), a concept known as “central dogma” explains how DNA serves as an instruction manual, with DNA informing messenger RNA (mRNA), which is then used as a road map for protein production. So, transcribing the right piece of DNA into mRNA is just the first step in ensuring the cell has all the proteins it needs. 

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