What Is DNA And How Does It Work?

Ever wish you understood genetics? It's way easier than you think. Mastering the basics only takes 5 minutes.


Issues of genetics and DNA are constantly cropping up in the news on issues regarding food production, health, legal cases, and ethics. We hear about DNA in movies like Jurassic Park and X-Men, we learn bits and pieces about it from TV shows like Dexter and CSI, but what exactly is DNA, and how does it work?

This short animation has been made for those wanting a simple introduction — or even a refresher — on how DNA creates a living creature. In this video you will learn a bit about genetic code, DNA transcription and translation, and the importance of proteins in the chemistry of life.

For Teachers

The content of this video meets criteria in the following Disciplinary Core Ideas defined by Next Generation Science Standards. Use our videos to supplement classroom curriculum.


Our videos benefit from guidance and advice provided by experts in science and education. This animation is the result of collaboration between the following scientists, educators, and our team of creatives.

  • Jon Perry
  • Jeremiah Deasey
  • Anthony Danzl
  • Eric T. Parker, PhD
  • Varinia Acosta, DVM