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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 link RHOX gene mutations to infertility in men

Researchers link RHOX gene mutations to infertility in men

The underlying cause of male infertility is unknown for 30 percent of cases. In a pair of new studies, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine determined that the reproductive homeobox (RHOX) family of transcription factors — regulatory proteins that activate some genes and inactivate others — drive the development of stem cells in the testes in mice. [More]
New project clarifies molecular processes involved in hidden HIV reservoir

New project clarifies molecular processes involved in hidden HIV reservoir

In spite of ever more effective therapies, HIV keeps managing to survive in the body. A comprehensive project conducted by the Austrian Science Fund FWF has clarified the molecular processes which contribute to this effect. [More]
Tumour suppressor gene has greater anti-cancer activity than previously thought

Tumour suppressor gene has greater anti-cancer activity than previously thought

New insight into the function of a gene important in the suppression of cancer is published today. Researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway have shown that the TP53 gene has even greater anti-cancer activity than previously thought. [More]
Color-deficiency or color-blindness?

Color-deficiency or color-blindness?

Color blindness could be considered a bit of a misleading term, because there are very few people who can't see color at all. Most people have what we call color deficiency or color confusion, which means that they're not blind to color; they just see a reduced number of colors. [More]
Researchers identify genetic switch that may be potential target for Alzheimer's disease

Researchers identify genetic switch that may be potential target for Alzheimer's disease

A team at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, based at Imperial College London, has found an important part of the machinery that switches on a gene known to protect against Alzheimer's Disease. [More]
Gender matching key for corneal transplants? An interview with Professor Kaye

Gender matching key for corneal transplants? An interview with Professor Kaye

The cornea is a transparent tissue lining the front of the eye, that is invisible tissue to the naked eye. It is a delicate tissue and disease or injury may lead to a loss of transparency or a change in the shape of the cornea, resulting in severe visual impairment. [More]
Study identifies new gene that suppresses breast cancer in mice

Study identifies new gene that suppresses breast cancer in mice

In recent years, the incidence of breast cancer has been increasing worldwide, and breast cancer is becoming a serious object of public concern. [More]
UAB researchers find microRNA as potential therapeutic target for MDD

UAB researchers find microRNA as potential therapeutic target for MDD

A tiny RNA appears to play a role in producing major depression, the mental disorder that affects as many as 250 million people a year worldwide. [More]
Researchers describe how genetic mutations cause unnamed neurological disorder

Researchers describe how genetic mutations cause unnamed neurological disorder

In rare cases -- for instance, among siblings in two families from Pakistan and Oman described in a new study -- children have been born with an unnamed neurological disorder. [More]
Researchers identify new gene for type 2 diabetes at well-established genomic location

Researchers identify new gene for type 2 diabetes at well-established genomic location

Gene researchers have used sophisticated scientific tools to reveal a new gene for type 2 diabetes at a well-established genomic location. [More]
Research findings could lead to new biomarker for early stages of tumor development

Research findings could lead to new biomarker for early stages of tumor development

To treat or not to treat? That is the question researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory hope to answer with a new advance that could help doctors and their cancer patients decide if a particular therapy would be worth pursuing. [More]
New study shows variation in junk DNA can affect health

New study shows variation in junk DNA can affect health

All humans are 99.9 percent identical, genetically speaking. But that tiny 0.1 percent variation has big consequences, influencing the color of your eyes, the span of your hips, your risk of getting sick and in some ways even your earning potential. [More]
Preimplantation genetic screening using next generation sequencing: an interview with Dr Luis Alcaraz

Preimplantation genetic screening using next generation sequencing: an interview with Dr Luis Alcaraz

PGS, Preimplantation Genetic Screening, is a genetic test that analyses biopsied cells from embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques. PGS determines whether the embryos are chromosomally normal (euploid) or not (aneuploid), thus giving the chance to transfer chromosomally normal embryos that are more apt to successfully implant and develop into a pregnancy. [More]
Scientists move a step closer to translating BubR1 protein's function into potential cancer therapy

Scientists move a step closer to translating BubR1 protein's function into potential cancer therapy

In a paper published recently in the journal eLife, Mayo Clinic scientists take a step toward translating the protein BubR1's function into a potential therapy for cancer. [More]
NIH researchers discover rare, lethal inflammatory disease that affects young children

NIH researchers discover rare, lethal inflammatory disease that affects young children

National Institutes of Health researchers have discovered a rare and sometimes lethal inflammatory disease - otulipenia - that primarily affects young children. They have also identified anti-inflammatory treatments that ease some of the patients' symptoms: fever, skin rashes, diarrhea, joint pain and overall failure to grow or thrive. [More]
Nobel laureate-led study uses new technology to watch interaction between telomerase and telomeres

Nobel laureate-led study uses new technology to watch interaction between telomerase and telomeres

As the rope of a chromosomes replicates, it frays at the ends. No problem: A chromosome's ends have extra twine so that fraying doesn't reach into the body of the rope where the important information resides. [More]
Study reveals crucial role of TERRA in preservation of telomeres

Study reveals crucial role of TERRA in preservation of telomeres

Despite their especially compact structure that is difficult to access, telomeres transcribe information like the rest of the DNA. [More]
Study offers clues about how genetic mutations can increase risk of psychiatric disorders

Study offers clues about how genetic mutations can increase risk of psychiatric disorders

Brain scans have revealed how a genetic mutation linked to major psychiatric disorders affects the structure, function and chemistry of the brain. [More]
New study uncovers how chromosomal changes impact tumor formation and growth

New study uncovers how chromosomal changes impact tumor formation and growth

As with most cancers, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells have abnormal amounts of chromosomes or DNA copy number aberrations (CNAs) in their genomes. [More]
New model of Williams syndrome may shed light on neurobiology of the human social brain

New model of Williams syndrome may shed light on neurobiology of the human social brain

In a study spanning molecular genetics, stem cells and the sciences of both brain and behavior, researchers at University of California San Diego, with colleagues at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and elsewhere, have created a neurodevelopmental model of a rare genetic disorder that may provide new insights into the underlying neurobiology of the human social brain. [More]
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