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In the nucleus of each cell, the DNA molecule is packaged into thread-like structures called chromosomes. Each chromosome is made up of DNA tightly coiled many times around proteins called histones that support its structure.

Chromosomes are not visible in the cell’s nucleus—not even under a microscope—when the cell is not dividing. However, the DNA that makes up chromosomes becomes more tightly packed during cell division and is then visible under a microscope. Most of what researchers know about chromosomes was learned by observing chromosomes during cell division.

Each chromosome has a constriction point called the centromere, which divides the chromosome into two sections, or “arms.” The short arm of the chromosome is labeled the “p arm.” The long arm of the chromosome is labeled the “q arm.” The location of the centromere on each chromosome gives the chromosome its characteristic shape, and can be used to help describe the location of specific genes.
Understanding how some cells in the brain and nervous system turn cancerous

Understanding how some cells in the brain and nervous system turn cancerous

Scientists from the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York with the help of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have completed research which for the first time brings us nearer to understanding how some cells in the brain and nervous system become cancerous. [More]
First diagnostic criteria proposed for Christianson Syndrome

First diagnostic criteria proposed for Christianson Syndrome

Because the severe autism-like condition Christianson Syndrome was only first reported in 1999 and some symptoms take more than a decade to appear, families and doctors urgently need fundamental information about it. A new study that doubles the number of cases now documented in the scientific literature provides the most definitive characterization of CS to date. [More]
New insights into biology of bread wheat genome

New insights into biology of bread wheat genome

Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the most widely cultivated cereal crop in the world and provides 20 percent of the food calories consumed by humans. [More]
Researchers identify group of cells in brain that plays important role in Down syndrome

Researchers identify group of cells in brain that plays important role in Down syndrome

Researchers from UC Davis School of Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children - Northern California have identified a group of cells in the brain that they say plays an important role in the abnormal neuron development in Down syndrome. [More]
IWGSC publishes draft sequence of bread wheat genome

IWGSC publishes draft sequence of bread wheat genome

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) published today in the international journal Science a draft sequence of the bread wheat genome. [More]
Research reveals why HIV remains a long-lasting infection

Research reveals why HIV remains a long-lasting infection

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has the ability to integrate into the human genome, making it extremely difficult to cure the infection. A new study by scientists at Seattle Children's Research Institute, University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that when HIV integrates into genes involved with cancer, these cells tend to reproduce to a greater extent than others HIV-infected cells. [More]
NIH-funded study identifies genetic markers associated with eosinophilic esophagitis

NIH-funded study identifies genetic markers associated with eosinophilic esophagitis

Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have identified genetic markers associated with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an inflammatory disease characterized by high levels of immune cells called eosinophils in the esophagus. [More]
Leading hypothesis for miscarriages, birth defects ruled out by WSU reproductive biologists

Leading hypothesis for miscarriages, birth defects ruled out by WSU reproductive biologists

Washington State University reproductive biologists have ruled out one of the leading thoughts on why older women have an increased risk of miscarriages and children with birth defects. [More]
Researchers break new ground in understanding what causes autism

Researchers break new ground in understanding what causes autism

In a collaboration involving 13 institutions around the world, researchers have broken new ground in understanding what causes autism. The results are being published in Cell magazine July 3, 2014: "Disruptive CHD8 Mutations Define a Subtype of Autism in Early Development." [More]
Studies show increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension in egg donation patients

Studies show increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension in egg donation patients

With an ever-ageing female patient population, egg donation is an increasingly common treatment in infertility. ESHRE's own annual reports on fertility treatments in Europe show a rise in egg donation cycles from 15,028 in 2007 to 24,517 in 2010 (to 4.05% of all treatments). This proportion is still some way behind the USA, where egg donation now accounts for around 12% of all treatments. [More]
UCSB researchers explore genetic underpinnings of nerve-cell spacing

UCSB researchers explore genetic underpinnings of nerve-cell spacing

The functional organization of the central nervous system depends upon a precise architecture and connectivity of distinct types of neurons. [More]
Current sequencing protocols overlook DNA crucial to bacterial virulence

Current sequencing protocols overlook DNA crucial to bacterial virulence

Genomic sequencing is supposed to reveal the entire genetic makeup of an organism. For infectious disease specialists, the technology can be used to analyze a disease-causing bacterium to determine how much harm it is capable of causing and whether or not it will be resistant to antibiotics. [More]
Gene partnership may be fueling cancer spread in as much as 20% of cancers

Gene partnership may be fueling cancer spread in as much as 20% of cancers

A key cancer-causing gene, responsible for up to 20 percent of cancers, may have a weak spot in its armor, according to new research from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. [More]
Study: Cohesin mutations are common in melanoma and bladder cancer

Study: Cohesin mutations are common in melanoma and bladder cancer

Massive sequencing of cancer genomes brings to light new genes every day that could be involved in the process of tumour formation. [More]
Pew, Stewart Trust announce new scholars program for cancer research

Pew, Stewart Trust announce new scholars program for cancer research

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust announced the inaugural class of Pew-Stewart Scholars for Cancer Research. Five promising early-career scientists will receive funding for research aimed at finding cures for cancer using approaches that include genetics, pharmacology, and structural biology. [More]
UK scientists unlock untapped genetic information to better understand Intellectual Disability in children

UK scientists unlock untapped genetic information to better understand Intellectual Disability in children

Teams of leading UK scientists have joined forces to unlock an untapped source of genetic information in a bid to better understand and treat children with Intellectual Disability. Experts from Cambridge, Cardiff, and UCL (University College London) will be given unprecedented access to genetic information on intellectual disability from NHS Regional Genetics Centres across the UK as part of a first phase study funded by the Medical Research Council and Medical Research Foundation. [More]
Researchers identify two oncogenes that drive the development of medulloblastoma

Researchers identify two oncogenes that drive the development of medulloblastoma

A new collaborative study carried out by researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, UC San Diego, the German Cancer Research Center, the University of Heidelberg (Germany), and 33 other research institutions has identified two oncogenes, called GFI1 and GFI1B, that drive the development of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. [More]
Fragile Y hypothesis explains the factors behind chromosome loss

Fragile Y hypothesis explains the factors behind chromosome loss

A UT Arlington research team says their study of genetic information from more than 4,000 beetle species has yielded a new theory about why some species lose their Y chromosome and others, such as humans, hang on to it. [More]
Entomologists develop chromosome map to find ways to prevent dengue fever, yellow fever

Entomologists develop chromosome map to find ways to prevent dengue fever, yellow fever

Virginia Tech entomologists have developed a chromosome map for about half of the genome of the mosquito Aedes agypti, the major carrier of dengue fever and yellow fever. [More]
Genomic study reveals striking contrasts that may aid disease prevention

Genomic study reveals striking contrasts that may aid disease prevention

Virginia Tech entomologists have developed a chromosome map for about half of the genome of the mosquito Aedes agypti, the major carrier of dengue fever and yellow fever. [More]