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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.

Study sheds light on how extra chromosome 21 upsets equilibrium of entire genome in Down syndrome

Occurring in about one per eight hundred births, Down syndrome - or trisomy 21 - is the most frequent genetic cause of intellectual disability. It results from a chromosomal abnormality where cells of affected individuals contain a third copy of chromosome 21 (1% of the human genome). [More]
Genetic evidence confirms role of group of virus-fighting genes in cancer development

Genetic evidence confirms role of group of virus-fighting genes in cancer development

Researchers have found a major piece of genetic evidence that confirms the role of a group of virus-fighting genes in cancer development. [More]

Two candidate mTOR therapy biomarkers identified in RCC

Two genes, TSC1 and MTOR, warrant further investigation as biomarkers for treatment benefit with rapalogs in patients with renal cell carcinoma, indicate study results published in Clinical Cancer Research. [More]
Comprehensive genomic analysis of low-grade brain tumors sorts into three categories

Comprehensive genomic analysis of low-grade brain tumors sorts into three categories

Comprehensive genomic analysis of low-grade brain tumors sorts them into three categories, one of which has the molecular hallmarks and shortened survival of glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal of brain tumors, researchers reported at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014. [More]
Stressful upbringings can leave imprints on genes of African American children

Stressful upbringings can leave imprints on genes of African American children

Stressful upbringings can leave imprints on the genes of children as young as age 9, according to a study led by Princeton University and Pennsylvania State University researchers. Such chronic stress during youth leads to physiological weathering similar to aging. [More]
Scientists uncover surprising link between brain development and gene tied to breast cancer

Scientists uncover surprising link between brain development and gene tied to breast cancer

Scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered details into a surprising-and crucial-link between brain development and a gene whose mutation is tied to breast and ovarian cancer. [More]
Study examines links between parental obesity and risk of autism developmental in child

Study examines links between parental obesity and risk of autism developmental in child

Several studies have looked at possible links between maternal obesity during pregnancy and the risk of developmental disorders in the child. However, paternal obesity could be a greater risk factor than maternal obesity, according to a new study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. [More]
Researchers generate 3D model of human malaria parasite genome

Researchers generate 3D model of human malaria parasite genome

A research team led by a cell biologist at the University of California, Riverside has generated a 3D model of the human malaria parasite genome at three different stages in the parasite's life cycle - the first time such 3D architecture has been generated during the progression of the life cycle of a parasite. [More]
Too little or too much of SRPK1 enzyme promotes cancer, shows research

Too little or too much of SRPK1 enzyme promotes cancer, shows research

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that too little or too much of an enzyme called SRPK1 promotes cancer by disrupting a regulatory event critical for many fundamental cellular processes, including proliferation. [More]
Otsuka inks agreement with Eisai to acquire rights to hematological cancer treatment Dacogen

Otsuka inks agreement with Eisai to acquire rights to hematological cancer treatment Dacogen

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. has announced an agreement with Eisai Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Eisai Co., Ltd. to acquire rights to the hematological cancer treatment Dacogen and to an enzyme inhibitor, E7727. [More]

Study suggest that women are resistant to mutations that contribute to autism

It takes more mutations to trigger autism in women than in men, which may explain why men are four times more likely to have the disorder, according to a study published 26 February in the American Journal of Human Genetics1. [More]
Rare abnormality in chromosomes increases risk of rare childhood leukaemia

Rare abnormality in chromosomes increases risk of rare childhood leukaemia

Researchers have found that people born with a rare abnormality of their chromosomes have a 2,700-fold increased risk of a rare childhood leukaemia. In this abnormality, two specific chromosomes are fused together but become prone to catastrophic shattering. [More]
Scientists unlock one of mysteries of modern genetics

Scientists unlock one of mysteries of modern genetics

Scientists at Indiana University have unlocked one of the mysteries of modern genetics: how acquired traits can be passed between generations in a process called epigenetic inheritance. The new work finds that cells don't know to silence some genes based on information hardwired into their DNA sequences, but recognize heritable chemical marks that are added to the genes. These chemical tags serve as a form of molecular memory, allowing cells to recognize the genes and remember to silence them again in each new generation. [More]

Two new risk loci for bipolar disorder identified

Researchers have found two new risk loci for bipolar disorder in a genome-wide association study of 2.3 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms. [More]

Study provides better understanding of why chromosome errors are high in women's eggs

A new study from the University of Southampton has provided scientists with a better understanding of why chromosome errors are high in women's eggs. [More]
Findings reveal potential drug targets for small cell lung cancer

Findings reveal potential drug targets for small cell lung cancer

Cancer cells undergo extensive genetic alterations as they grow and spread through the body. Some of these mutations, known as "drivers," help spur cells to grow out of control, while others ("passengers") are merely along for the ride. [More]
UC Davis MIND Institute named Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center

UC Davis MIND Institute named Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center

The UC Davis MIND Institute has been named an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, through a prestigious grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health - a distinction held by only a handful of neurodevelopmental centers nationwide committed to the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and amelioration of developmental disorders such as autism, fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome. [More]

Study: Musical aptitude is affected by a combination of genes involved in auditory pathway

Multiple regions in the human genome are reported to be linked to musical aptitude, according to a study published this week in Molecular Psychiatry. [More]

Six in every ten serious heart defects in foetuses go undetected in ultrasound scans

Over six in every ten serious heart defects in foetuses go undetected in the ultrasound scans given to all pregnant women. According to research at Linköping University in Sweden, one reason why malformations are not found is obesity in the expectant mother. [More]

Study finds gene expression differences in male and female athletes with ACL injuries

Female athletes are two-to-eight times more likely to suffer an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury than males. And while there have been reports about possible anatomic, hormonal and neuromuscular factors that may place females at greater risk for these injuries, little research has looked specifically at the role of genetics. [More]