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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.
Researchers uncover first ‘off-switches’ for better control of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing

Researchers uncover first ‘off-switches’ for better control of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing

CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing is quickly revolutionizing biomedical research, but the new technology is not yet exact. The technique can inadvertently make excessive or unwanted changes in the genome and create off-target mutations, limiting safety and efficacy in therapeutic applications. [More]
GWAS identifies genomic locations linked to personality traits and psychiatric disorders

GWAS identifies genomic locations linked to personality traits and psychiatric disorders

A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies has identified six loci or regions of the human genome that are significantly linked to personality traits, report researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine in this week's advance online publication of Nature Genetics. [More]
Scientists identify biomarkers to predict patient’s response to breast cancer treatment

Scientists identify biomarkers to predict patient’s response to breast cancer treatment

Why do some breast cancers respond to treatment while others resist it? A study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center may provide insight into this important question. [More]
Alkaloid in ayahuasca beverage triggers neurogenesis in human neural cells

Alkaloid in ayahuasca beverage triggers neurogenesis in human neural cells

Ayahuasca is a beverage that has been used for centuries by Native South-Americans. Studies suggest that it exhibits anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in humans. [More]
Study highlights requirement of protein in initiation of apoptosis in uveal melanoma

Study highlights requirement of protein in initiation of apoptosis in uveal melanoma

New research from the University of Liverpool has identified the role of a specific protein in the human body that can help prevent the survival and spread of eye cancer, by initiating cancer 'cell-suicide'. [More]
Research findings point to inherited genetic basis of ALL risk in children

Research findings point to inherited genetic basis of ALL risk in children

A late-breaking abstract being presented today during the 58th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego identifies inherited genetic mutations in the gene IKZF1 that confer a higher likelihood of developing pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). [More]
Starvation may shorten lifespans of children and male descendants, study suggests

Starvation may shorten lifespans of children and male descendants, study suggests

New Tel Aviv University research suggests that periods of fasting or starvation may significantly shorten the lifespans of both children and their male descendants. [More]
Scientists discover unique genomic changes integral to testicular cancer development

Scientists discover unique genomic changes integral to testicular cancer development

Researchers led by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they have identified unique genomic changes that may be integral to testicular cancer development and explain why the great majority are highly curable with chemotherapy - unlike most solid tumors. [More]
Protective barrier inside chromosomes helps prevent errors during cell division, study finds

Protective barrier inside chromosomes helps prevent errors during cell division, study finds

Fresh insights into the structures that contain our genetic material could explain how the body's cells stay healthy. [More]
Scientists identify microrna that provides clues for quieting auditory hallucinations of schizophrenia

Scientists identify microrna that provides clues for quieting auditory hallucinations of schizophrenia

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified a small RNA (microRNA) that may be essential to restoring normal function in a brain circuit associated with the "voices" and other hallucinations of schizophrenia. [More]
Scientists develop easy-to-use software tool to detect important genetic mutations

Scientists develop easy-to-use software tool to detect important genetic mutations

Scientists have developed an easy-to-use software tool that can detect important genetic mutations that previously needed to be identified by a separate test. [More]
Researchers engineer cells with 'built-in genetic circuit' that can inhibit tumour growth

Researchers engineer cells with 'built-in genetic circuit' that can inhibit tumour growth

Researchers at the University of Southampton have engineered cells with a 'built-in genetic circuit' that produces a molecule that inhibits the ability of tumours to survive and grow in their low oxygen environment. [More]
Scientists develop new technology that sheds light on HIV infection

Scientists develop new technology that sheds light on HIV infection

A group of researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation and the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, have developed a new technology that sheds light on the HIV infection and offers a first glance at the expression landscape of the HIV in the human genome. [More]
Einstein researcher receives $7.5 million NIH grant to study genetics of congenital heart disease

Einstein researcher receives $7.5 million NIH grant to study genetics of congenital heart disease

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Bernice Morrow, Ph.D., at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and collaborators at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia a five-year, $7.5 million grant to study the genetics of congenital heart abnormalities. [More]
Study offers genetic explanation why cancer occurs commonly in males than females

Study offers genetic explanation why cancer occurs commonly in males than females

In a new study, a group of Boston scientists, including researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, offer a genetic explanation for the age-old conundrum of why cancer is more common in males than females. [More]
Scientists capture DNA intermediates that reveal how cancer evolves

Scientists capture DNA intermediates that reveal how cancer evolves

Scientists from Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions are using synthetic biology to capture elusive, short-lived snippets of DNA that healthy cells produce on their way to becoming cancerous. [More]
Researchers create new Zika replicon system to find ways to combat virus

Researchers create new Zika replicon system to find ways to combat virus

New research from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, in collaboration with Southwest University in Chongqing, China and the University of Leuven in Belgium, have developed a way to replicate the basic structure of the Zika virus, stripping it of the genes that make the virus infectious. [More]
Veterans Affairs researchers discover alleles of certain genes that offer protection from GWI

Veterans Affairs researchers discover alleles of certain genes that offer protection from GWI

Veterans Affairs researchers have found that certain forms, or alleles, of a gene known to play a key role in the immune system appear to offer protection from Gulf War illness (GWI). Further, they discovered how such protection is manifested in the brain. [More]
Researchers create first mouse model for common form of infant leukemia

Researchers create first mouse model for common form of infant leukemia

After nearly two decades of unsuccessful attempts, researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine and the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have created the first mouse model for the most common form of infant leukemia. [More]
Length of telomeres may reveal if vitamin D and omega-3 supplements improve heart health, longevity

Length of telomeres may reveal if vitamin D and omega-3 supplements improve heart health, longevity

The length of your telomeres appears to be a window into your heart health and longevity, and scientists are measuring them to see if vitamin D and omega-3 supplements really improve both. [More]
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