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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.
USF researchers uncover how malaria-related parasites spread at explosive rates

USF researchers uncover how malaria-related parasites spread at explosive rates

A University of South Florida College of Public Health professor and his team of researchers have become the first to uncover part of the mysterious process by which malaria-related parasites spread at explosive and deadly rates inside humans and other animals. [More]
Genomics researchers discover novel gene variants in childhood CVID

Genomics researchers discover novel gene variants in childhood CVID

Genomics researchers analyzing a rare, serious immunodeficiency disease in children have discovered links to a gene crucial to the body's defense against infections. The finding may represent an inviting target for drugs to treat common variable immunodeficiency (CVID). [More]
New study identifies genetic link to peanut allergy

New study identifies genetic link to peanut allergy

Researchers have pinpointed a region in the human genome associated with peanut allergy in U.S. children, offering strong evidence that genes can play a role in the development of food allergies. [More]
Changes to DNA sequence associated with peanut allergy

Changes to DNA sequence associated with peanut allergy

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that changes in a small region of chromosome 6 are risk factors for peanut allergy in U.S. children of European descent. The genetic risk area is located among two tightly linked genes that regulate the presentation of allergens and microbial products to the immune system. This study is the first to use a genome-wide screening approach in patients with well-defined food allergy to identify risks for peanut allergy. [More]
New NCCN Guidelines for treating Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

New NCCN Guidelines for treating Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

According to the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the treatment approach to ALL is one of the most complex and intensive programs in cancer therapy. [More]
Study: Growth hormone can improve social impairment in patients with Phelan-McDermid syndrome

Study: Growth hormone can improve social impairment in patients with Phelan-McDermid syndrome

A growth hormone can significantly improve the social impairment associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in patients with a related genetic syndrome, according to a pilot study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published yesterday on Pub Med, a public database of biomedical topics maintained by the National Institutes of Health (study originally published in the December 12 issue of the journal Molecular Autism). [More]
Einstein researchers find possible clue to why older mothers have babies born with Down syndrome

Einstein researchers find possible clue to why older mothers have babies born with Down syndrome

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found a possible clue to why older mothers face a higher risk for having babies born with conditions such as Down syndrome that are characterized by abnormal chromosome numbers. [More]
Duke researchers demonstrate genetic therapeutic technique to treat DMD patients

Duke researchers demonstrate genetic therapeutic technique to treat DMD patients

Duke researchers have demonstrated a genetic therapeutic technique that has the potential to treat more than half of the patients suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). [More]
Scientists map autism genetic pathway that regulates brain development

Scientists map autism genetic pathway that regulates brain development

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that mutations that cause autism in children are connected to a pathway that regulates brain development. The research, led by Lilia Iakoucheva, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, is published in the February 18 issue of Neuron. [More]
New facts provide baseline for future studies of epigenome's role in human development, diseases

New facts provide baseline for future studies of epigenome's role in human development, diseases

While genomics is the study of all of the genes in a cell or organism, epigenomics is the study of all the genomic add-ons and changes that influence gene expression but aren't encoded in the DNA sequence. A variety of new epigenomic information is now available in a collection of studies published Feb. 19 in Nature by the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Epigenomics Program. [More]
UT Southwestern scientists identify new biomarker that could optimize chemotherapy response

UT Southwestern scientists identify new biomarker that could optimize chemotherapy response

UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have identified a new biomarker that could help identify patients who are more likely to respond to certain chemotherapies. [More]
Findings may help doctors recommend appropriate treatments, improve patient outcomes

Findings may help doctors recommend appropriate treatments, improve patient outcomes

Like a car's front and back bumpers, your cell's chromosomes are capped by "telomeres" that protect this genetic material against deterioration. Still, after enough replications, a chromosome's telomeres break down and once they reach a certain point of degradation, the cell dies. This is one reason that cells are mortal: telomeres only last so long. That is, unless the enzyme telomerase builds new material onto the worn telomeres to reinforce these chromosomal "bumpers". Telomere repair can be a good thing, but in some cases it's not: overactive telomerase can lengthen telomeres until a cell becomes immortal…leading to cancer. [More]
Research may lead to future medical treatments for children with neurodevelopmental problems

Research may lead to future medical treatments for children with neurodevelopmental problems

Children born with a DNA abnormality on chromosome 16 already linked to neurodevelopmental problems show measurable delays in processing sound and language, says a study team of radiologists and psychologists. [More]
TKI introduction improves French CML patient survival

TKI introduction improves French CML patient survival

Real-world study findings from France show the significant impact tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment has had on the survival of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukaemia. [More]
Second-line bosutinib well tolerated by Japanese patients

Second-line bosutinib well tolerated by Japanese patients

Phase I/II clinical trial data support the use of bosutinib as second- or third-line tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in Japanese patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukaemia. [More]
Tissue and cell diagnostics market reaches $7.7 billion in 2014

Tissue and cell diagnostics market reaches $7.7 billion in 2014

With fast and effective testing techniques, the tissue and cell diagnostics market was estimated to have reached $7.7 billion in 2014 for in vitro diagnostic (IVD) and other reagents used by clinical laboratories, according to Kalorama Information. [More]
Discovery offers much needed information about how virulent insect-borne diseases cause infection

Discovery offers much needed information about how virulent insect-borne diseases cause infection

For decades, scientists have thought the bacteria that cause the bubonic plague hijack host cells at the site of a fleabite and are then taken to the lymph nodes, where the bacteria multiply and trigger severe disease. But UNC School of Medicine researchers discovered that this accepted theory is off base. The bacteria do not use host cells; they traffic to lymph nodes on their own and not in great numbers. [More]
Scientists find seven new genes that can cause X-linked intellectual disability

Scientists find seven new genes that can cause X-linked intellectual disability

X-linked intellectual disability is a disorder that predominantly affects men and can have highly variable clinical manifestations. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have found seven new genes that can cause this genetic disease: Mutations of these genes on the X chromosome lead to various forms of intellectual disability. [More]
Longer donor leukocyte telomere length linked to improved survival following HCT

Longer donor leukocyte telomere length linked to improved survival following HCT

Among patients with severe aplastic anemia who received stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor, longer leukocyte (white blood cells) telomere length (a structure at the end of a chromosome) was associated with increased overall survival at 5 years, according to a study in the February 10 issue of JAMA. [More]
UNC researchers create new research tool to help crack the histone code

UNC researchers create new research tool to help crack the histone code

University of North Carolina scientists have created a new research tool, based on the fruit fly, to help crack the histone code. This research tool can be used to better understand the function of histone proteins, which play critical roles in the regulation of gene expression in animals and plants. [More]