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DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases, and more than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people. The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences.

DNA bases pair up with each other, A with T and C with G, to form units called base pairs. Each base is also attached to a sugar molecule and a phosphate molecule. Together, a base, sugar, and phosphate are called a nucleotide. Nucleotides are arranged in two long strands that form a spiral called a double helix. The structure of the double helix is somewhat like a ladder, with the base pairs forming the ladder’s rungs and the sugar and phosphate molecules forming the vertical sidepieces of the ladder.

An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.
Tulane researchers discover cancer-causing role of protein thought to be tumor suppressor

Tulane researchers discover cancer-causing role of protein thought to be tumor suppressor

Tulane University researchers have discovered that the protein PHLDB3, thought to be a potential tumor suppressor, actually allows cancer cells to thrive in pancreatic, prostate, colon, breast, lung, and other common cancers. [More]
Researchers investigate influence of surrounding tissue on formation and growth of tumor cells

Researchers investigate influence of surrounding tissue on formation and growth of tumor cells

Malignant melanoma is the fastest-growing type of cancer and the most fatal skin disease. [More]
Researchers discover mutation hotspots that act like backseat drivers for breast cancer development

Researchers discover mutation hotspots that act like backseat drivers for breast cancer development

Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have discovered 'hotspots' of mutations in breast cancer genomes, where mutations thought to be inactive 'passengers' in the genome have now been shown to possibly drive further cancerous changes. [More]
Characterizing the brain, cell by cell

Characterizing the brain, cell by cell

My group develops approaches to study cell-to-cell signaling in the brain – how the cells of the brain talk to each other. The brain is heterogeneous, probably more so than any other organ in our body, and many of its functions depend on the unique characteristics of these cells. [More]
Researchers uncover mechanism of resistance used by triple negative breast cancer

Researchers uncover mechanism of resistance used by triple negative breast cancer

Breast cancer cells are evasive, finding ways to bypass drugs designed to stop their unchecked growth. [More]
Researchers identify new principle for how epigenetic changes can occur

Researchers identify new principle for how epigenetic changes can occur

In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University have found evidence of a new principle for how epigenetic changes can occur. The principle is based on an enzyme, tryptase, that has epigenetic effects that cause cells to proliferate in an uncontrolled manner. [More]
Precision medicine advances diagnosis and treatment of children with brain tumors

Precision medicine advances diagnosis and treatment of children with brain tumors

Precision medicine - in which diagnosis and treatments are keyed to the genetic susceptibilities of individual cancers - has advanced to the point where it can now impact the care of a majority of children with brain tumors, a new study by investigators at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center suggests. [More]
NYU Langone scientists discover mechanism behind many disease-related genetic deletions

NYU Langone scientists discover mechanism behind many disease-related genetic deletions

Scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered the mechanisms behind a genetic change known to cause a set of related diseases. [More]
Service to screen for DNA damaging compounds released by Merck

Service to screen for DNA damaging compounds released by Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, has introduced CAN MultiFlow™ screening services to more accurately predict genotoxic and mode of action* properties of substances, ingredients and drug compounds. Offered through its BioReliance® testing facilities, Merck will be the first company to provide this service in the United States. [More]
Salk scientists show how microenvironment signals encourage growth of pancreatic tumors

Salk scientists show how microenvironment signals encourage growth of pancreatic tumors

Just as an invasive weed might need nutrient-rich soil and water to grow, many cancers rely on the right surroundings in the body to thrive. [More]
New genital herpes vaccine candidate shows promising results in preclinical tests

New genital herpes vaccine candidate shows promising results in preclinical tests

Approximately 500 million people around the world are infected with the genital herpes virus known as herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2). [More]
MGH-developed CTC-iChip with digital PCR assay improves detection of early-stage liver cancer

MGH-developed CTC-iChip with digital PCR assay improves detection of early-stage liver cancer

Use of an advanced form of the commonly used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to analyze circulating tumor cells (CTCs) may greatly increase the ability to diagnose early-stage cancer, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. [More]
Popularity of non-invasive prenatal testing increasing among pregnant women

Popularity of non-invasive prenatal testing increasing among pregnant women

Genetic counselors are playing a greater role in areas of medicine in the wake of advancement in genomic technology. [More]
Study provides link between common mutations in blood cells of older adults and atherosclerosis

Study provides link between common mutations in blood cells of older adults and atherosclerosis

A new study provides some of the first links between relatively common mutations in the blood cells of elderly humans and atherosclerosis. [More]
Selonterra publishes article on novel APOE4 mechanism linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Selonterra publishes article on novel APOE4 mechanism linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Selonterra LLC, a biotechnology company discovering therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease announced the publication of the article “Identification of a Nuclear Respiratory Factor 1 Recognition Motif in the Apolipoprotein E Variant APOE4 linked to Alzheimer’s Disease” in Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed journal of the Nature Publishing Group. [More]
New research provides insight into how estrogen modulates fear learning

New research provides insight into how estrogen modulates fear learning

Low estrogen levels may make women more susceptible to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some points in their menstrual cycles or lifetimes, while high estrogen levels may be protective. [More]
Sedentary lifestyle may hasten biological aging

Sedentary lifestyle may hasten biological aging

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary. [More]
Enzyme identified in baker's yeast can efficiently annihilate leukemia cells

Enzyme identified in baker's yeast can efficiently annihilate leukemia cells

An enzyme identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as brewer's or baker's yeast, has passed in vitro trials, demonstrating its capacity to kill acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells. [More]
Study finds link between obesity-related disease and epigenetic modifications

Study finds link between obesity-related disease and epigenetic modifications

Obesity has been linked to "letter" changes at many different sites in the genome, yet these differences do not fully explain the variation in people's body mass index (BMI) or why some overweight people develop health complications while others don't. [More]
COGENT scientists uncover genes responsible for cognitive ability

COGENT scientists uncover genes responsible for cognitive ability

An international team of scientists, led by Todd Lencz, PhD, professor at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health and Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, have unlocked some of the genes responsible for cognitive ability. [More]
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