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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.
Genetic differences between brain cancer cells and normal tissues could offer clues to tumor behavior

Genetic differences between brain cancer cells and normal tissues could offer clues to tumor behavior

Two recently discovered genetic differences between brain cancer cells and normal tissue cells -- an altered gene and a snippet of noncoding genetic material -- could offer clues to tumor behavior and potential new targets for therapy, Johns Hopkins scientists report. [More]
Elucigene collaborates with Congenica to develop new NGS kit for cystic fibrosis

Elucigene collaborates with Congenica to develop new NGS kit for cystic fibrosis

The emergence of new therapies that treat the causes of cystic fibrosis are creating an imperative for more accurate variant analysis. [More]
Applying quantitative microscopy to live cells

Applying quantitative microscopy to live cells

Microscopy's got a long history. It was developed about 350 years ago for scientists to visualize things they could discern, but not describe. The two pioneers of microscopy were Antoine van Leeuwenhoek, who developed the first microscope and soon after the renowned scientist, Robert Hooke. [More]
New UGA research finds pathogen's motility activates immune response

New UGA research finds pathogen's motility activates immune response

Until now, a pathogen's ability to move through the body has been overlooked as a possible trigger of immune response, but new research from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine found that motility will indeed alarm the host and activate an immune response. [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]
Scientists discover molecular link between rare childhood genetic disease and major cancer gene

Scientists discover molecular link between rare childhood genetic disease and major cancer gene

A team of researchers led by a University of Rhode Island scientist has discovered an important molecular link between a rare childhood genetic disease, Fanconi anemia, and a major cancer gene called PTEN. [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]
USP researchers develop new platform to detect 416 viruses from  tropical regions

USP researchers develop new platform to detect 416 viruses from tropical regions

Researchers from the University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto in Brazil have developed a platform that analyzes clinical samples from patients to diagnose infection by 416 viruses found in the world's tropical regions. [More]
Researchers uncover new prognostic marker and possible therapeutic target for Ewing's sarcoma

Researchers uncover new prognostic marker and possible therapeutic target for Ewing's sarcoma

Researchers of the Sarcoma research group of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, led by Dr. Òscar Martínez-Tirado, have first described the methylation profile of Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer of bone and soft tissues that mainly affects children and teenagers. [More]
Alcohol consumption linked to higher risk of melanoma

Alcohol consumption linked to higher risk of melanoma

Alcohol intake was associated with higher rates of invasive melanoma among white men and women. [More]
Okayama University researchers find way to prevent replication of influenza viral RNA

Okayama University researchers find way to prevent replication of influenza viral RNA

Researchers at Okayama University have successfully cleaved influenza viral RNA to prevent its replication using novel artificial RNA restriction enzymes in laboratory cell cultures. [More]
Researchers come up with new approach to stabilize vaccines at room temperature

Researchers come up with new approach to stabilize vaccines at room temperature

Shipping vaccines in an unbroken temperature-controlled supply chain (a "cold chain") all the way to recipients is a major logistical and financial challenge in remote areas and developing countries. [More]
OmniPath provides gateway for literature-curated signalling pathways with unprecedented accuracy

OmniPath provides gateway for literature-curated signalling pathways with unprecedented accuracy

Combining the power of 27 data resources, Omnipath helps researchers see biological signalling pathways with unprecedented accuracy. [More]
WSU researchers develop novel technology to treat chronic wound infections

WSU researchers develop novel technology to treat chronic wound infections

A WSU research team has successfully used a mild electric current to take on and beat drug-resistant bacterial infections, a technology that may eventually be used to treat chronic wound infections. [More]
Dirt beneath New York City may provide new weapons to fight against disease

Dirt beneath New York City may provide new weapons to fight against disease

Microbes have long been an invaluable source of new drugs. And to find more, we may have to look no further than the ground beneath our feet. [More]
Scientists develop safe, highly efficient method to improve searching of new germicides

Scientists develop safe, highly efficient method to improve searching of new germicides

Scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University in cooperation with colleagues have worked out a safe, not that expensive and highly efficient method, which allows to speed up and improve searching of new germicides. [More]
Researchers find new way to target deadly virus and develop vaccines

Researchers find new way to target deadly virus and develop vaccines

Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is an unforgiving killer of horses, donkeys and zebras, resulting in mortality as high as 80 percent of infected animals. It causes rapid, catastrophic swelling of the brain and spinal cord, leading to severe neurological symptoms and--in many cases--sudden death. [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]
DNA changes in blood samples could pave way for simple tests to diagnose IBD

DNA changes in blood samples could pave way for simple tests to diagnose IBD

Scientists have identified chemical changes in the DNA of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases that could improve screening for the conditions. [More]
Editing preferences of enzymes may play role in infertility and cancer

Editing preferences of enzymes may play role in infertility and cancer

To "turn off" particular regions of genes or protect them from damage, DNA strands can wrap around small proteins, called histones, keeping out all but the most specialized molecular machinery. [More]
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