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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.
SRY protein alters specific gender-related tissue in males before birth

SRY protein alters specific gender-related tissue in males before birth

Case Western Reserve researchers have identified a protein mutation that alters specific gender-related tissue in males before birth and can contribute to the development of cancer as well as other less life-threatening challenges. [More]
UT Southwestern researchers identify new gene mutations involved in certain kidney cancers

UT Southwestern researchers identify new gene mutations involved in certain kidney cancers

Using next generation gene sequencing techniques, cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified more than 3,000 new mutations involved in certain kidney cancers, findings that help explain the diversity of cancer behaviors. [More]
AstraZeneca, Pharmacyclics partner to evaluate efficacy of IMBRUVICA for solid tumors

AstraZeneca, Pharmacyclics partner to evaluate efficacy of IMBRUVICA for solid tumors

AstraZeneca and Pharmacyclics, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a clinical trial collaboration to evaluate a novel combination therapy targeting solid tumors. [More]
Innovative tool could redefine limits of synthetic biology, improve study of yeast genetics

Innovative tool could redefine limits of synthetic biology, improve study of yeast genetics

NYU Langone yeast geneticists report they have developed a novel tool -- dubbed "the telomerator" -- that could redefine the limits of synthetic biology and advance how successfully living things can be engineered or constructed in the laboratory based on an organism's genetic, chemical base-pair structure. [More]
New study pinpoints complex genetic origins for autoimmune diseases

New study pinpoints complex genetic origins for autoimmune diseases

Scores of autoimmune diseases afflicting one in 12 Americans — ranging from type 1 diabetes, to multiple sclerosis (MS), to rheumatoid arthritis, to asthma — mysteriously cause the immune system to harm tissues within our own bodies. Now, a new study pinpoints the complex genetic origins for many of these diseases, a discovery that may lead to better diagnosis and ultimately to improved treatments. [More]
Landmark study provides new insight into function of enzyme related to BRCA1 protein

Landmark study provides new insight into function of enzyme related to BRCA1 protein

A landmark study to be published in the October 30, 2014 print edition of the journal Nature provides new insight into the function of an enzyme related to the BRCA1 breast-cancer protein. The study by a team at Penn State University is the first to produce a detailed working image of an enzyme in the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1) -- a group that regulates cell development and is associated with many types of cancer. [More]
Vanda reports total revenues of $14.8 million for third quarter 2014

Vanda reports total revenues of $14.8 million for third quarter 2014

Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc., today announced financial and operational results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2014. [More]
EMA's CHMP adopts final opinion on ARIAD Pharmaceuticals' Iclusig (ponatinib)

EMA's CHMP adopts final opinion on ARIAD Pharmaceuticals' Iclusig (ponatinib)

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency has adopted its final opinion on Iclusig (ponatinib) following the recommendations made by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee earlier this month. [More]
High risk for congenital heart defects in Down syndrome provides tool to identify changes in genes

High risk for congenital heart defects in Down syndrome provides tool to identify changes in genes

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality in humans, involving a third copy of all or part of chromosome 21. In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with Down syndrome have a high risk of congenital heart defects. However, not all people with Down syndrome have them – about half have structurally normal hearts. [More]
Early access program for human chromosome mapping analytical service announced by Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation and OpGen

Early access program for human chromosome mapping analytical service announced by Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation and OpGen

Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation and OpGen, Inc., a leading genetic analysis company, announced the introduction of an Early Access Program for its upcoming Human Chromosome ExplorerSM, human chromosome mapping analytical service for clinical research and life science research applications. [More]
Aspirin can improve efficacy of schizophrenia treatments

Aspirin can improve efficacy of schizophrenia treatments

A new study shows that some anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin, estrogen, and Fluimucil, can improve the efficacy of existing schizophrenia treatments. This work is being presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Berlin. [More]
Janssen announces submission of IMBRUVICA sNDA to FDA for WM treatment

Janssen announces submission of IMBRUVICA sNDA to FDA for WM treatment

Janssen Research & Development, LLC today announced the submission of a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for IMBRUVICA (ibrutinib) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by its strategic partner Pharmacyclics, Inc. [More]
Researchers identify genetic variant in Latina women that protects against breast cancer

Researchers identify genetic variant in Latina women that protects against breast cancer

An international research collaboration led by UC San Francisco researchers has identified a genetic variant common in Latina women that protects against breast cancer. [More]
Whole exome sequencing can assist in early diagnosis of various disorders

Whole exome sequencing can assist in early diagnosis of various disorders

Approximately one-fourth of the 3,386 patients whose DNA was submitted for clinical whole exome testing received a diagnosis related to a known genetic disease, often ending a long search for answers for them and their parents, said researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine departments of molecular and human genetics and pediatrics and the Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. [More]
Research: Ageing and depression are associated with epigenetic changes

Research: Ageing and depression are associated with epigenetic changes

Psychological stress and stress-related psychiatric disorders are associated with increased risk for aging-related diseases, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this relation are unknown. [More]
New mutations in cat genome identified as causes of human eye diseases

New mutations in cat genome identified as causes of human eye diseases

Researchers from the University of Missouri and the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative today announced groundbreaking discoveries of novel mutations in the cat genome found to correlate to two human eye diseases, retinitis pigmentosa and Leber's Congenital Amaurosis. [More]
Research on zebrafish helps identify cause of unknown genetic disorder

Research on zebrafish helps identify cause of unknown genetic disorder

Research in zebrafish has helped identify the cause of an unknown genetic disorder affecting a boy and two of his uncles, scientists report in an article published October 14 in the journal GENETICS. [More]
Johnson & Johnson's sales increase 5.1% to $18.5 billion in Q3 2014

Johnson & Johnson's sales increase 5.1% to $18.5 billion in Q3 2014

Johnson & Johnson today announced sales of $18.5 billion for the third quarter of 2014, an increase of 5.1% as compared to the third quarter of 2013. Operational results increased 5.8% and the negative impact of currency was 0.7%. Domestic sales increased 11.6%. International sales decreased 0.3%, reflecting operational growth of 1.0% and a negative currency impact of 1.3%. [More]
Researchers discover mitochondrial and nuclear tRNA-lookalikes in human genome

Researchers discover mitochondrial and nuclear tRNA-lookalikes in human genome

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are ancient workhorse molecules and part of the cellular process that creates the proteins, critical building blocks of life that keep a cell running smoothly. [More]
New study reveals mechanism that compromises chromosome stability

New study reveals mechanism that compromises chromosome stability

During cell division, chromosomes acquire a characteristic X-shape with the two DNA molecules (sister chromatids) linked at a central "connection region" that contains highly compacted DNA. [More]