World Environment Day: everything has DNA
June 5th has been defined as World Environment Day to highlight how important the world we live in is and to remember to respect it for what it gives us every day.
Nature has DNA: the differences between plants and animal DNA
In the center of every plant cell, from algae to orchids – and in the center of every animal cell, from jellyfish to you and me – there’s a copy of the organism’s genetic material.
This DNA carries a complete blueprint of the organism. It’s what transfers characteristics from one generation to the next.
There are pretty obvious differences between plants and animals, but the cells of all plants and all animals contain DNA in the same shape – the famous “double helix” that looks like a twisted ladder. What’s more, all DNA molecules – in both plants and animals – are made from the same four chemical building blocks – called nucleotides.
What is different is how these four nucleotides in DNA are arranged. It’s their sequence that determines which proteins will be made. The way the nucleotides are arranged, and the information they encode, decides whether the organism will produce scales or leaves – legs or a stalk.
Research shows that plants and animals may produce some proteins in common. One prominent example is known as Cytochrome C. But because the DNA copying process is imperfect, mistakes accumulate over time, making Cytochrome C slightly different in different creatures. The gene regions that specify the amino acid sequence in human Cytochrome C are more similar to those in another mammal like a rabbit, and less similar to a more evolutionarily distant creature, like a sunflower.
The schematic of classifying animals and plants in kingdoms is facing competition. More recently an alternative system has arisen, based on evolutionary and molecular information. Cytochrome c is perhaps the canonical or paradigmatic molecule in this approach.
Every species has a characteristic number of chromosomes, called the chromosome number. Animals have more chromosomes; plants have fewer.
It carries in its structure the genetic code, or set of instructions, for cellular development and maintenance. Finally, it undergoes changes in chemical structure, from both environmental and internal causes, called mutations, which contribute to evolution, diversity, and disease.
History of World Environment Day
World Environment Day embraces smaller and less-developed nations while tackling even bigger topics: from sustainable consumption to the illegal trade in wildlife. The annual day of action that began more than 40 years earlier goes viral on social media and it started in late 1972, when the UN General Assembly designates 5 June as World Environment Day.
It was 1974 when World Environment Day was celebrated for the first time with the slogan “Only One Earth.”
Since its beginning, World Environment Day has developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on urgent issues from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Millions of people have taken part over the years, helping drive change in our consumption habits as well as in national and international environmental policy.
2020 Theme and Host Country
This year's theme is biodiversity–a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa–and now, a global disease pandemic–demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist.
Every World Environment Day is hosted by a different country, in which official celebrations take place. This year's host is Colombia in partnership with Germany.
Dante Labs for World Environment Day
Together with the whole community, Dante Labs wants to be a global platform for inspiring positive change and share knowledge for individuals to think about the way they consume and for businesses to develop greener models.
It is everybody's responsibility to produce more sustainably, to safeguard wild spaces, to inspire young people to live in harmony with the Earth and to become the heroes of a green future.
The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, everything comes from nature. This is why we need to care for ourselves, because it’s time to wake up.
It’s Time for Nature.