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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.
Researchers provide new insights into biology of aging, age-related diseases

Researchers provide new insights into biology of aging, age-related diseases

The scientific team of a new biotech company Gero in collaboration with one of the leading academics in the field of aging Prof. Robert J. Shmookler Reis (current world record holder in life extension for model animals - 10 fold for nematodes) has recently brought new insights into biology of aging and age-related diseases, primarily, around the stability and stress resistance of certain gene regulatory networks. [More]
Study provides clearer picture of evolutionary history, genetic organization of cannabis

Study provides clearer picture of evolutionary history, genetic organization of cannabis

A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop. [More]
Researchers successfully use alcohols as reagents in alkylation reaction

Researchers successfully use alcohols as reagents in alkylation reaction

Researchers at Princeton have developed a dual catalyst system that directly installs alkyl groups--fragments containing singly bonded carbon and hydrogen atoms that have extremely useful properties for drug discovery--onto compounds called heteroarenes. The new reaction uses simple and abundant alcohols and offers a milder and more widely applicable alternative to existing strategies. [More]
Cell-to-cell transmission of HIV leads to development of AIDS

Cell-to-cell transmission of HIV leads to development of AIDS

Researchers from the Gladstone Institutes have revealed that HIV does not cause AIDS by the virus's direct effect on the host's immune cells, but rather through the cells' lethal influence on one another. [More]
Researchers identify druggable target to potentially root out colon cancer, end relapse

Researchers identify druggable target to potentially root out colon cancer, end relapse

Researchers targeting colorectal cancer stem cells - the root cause of disease, resistance to treatment and relapse - have discovered a mechanism to mimic a virus and potentially trigger an immune response to fight the cancer like an infection. [More]
Scientists generate pluripotent stem cells with more stable genomes

Scientists generate pluripotent stem cells with more stable genomes

Damaged tissue, such as pancreas, heart, and neuronal tissue, which is regenerated to treat cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or neurodegenerative diseases. This is one of the ambitious scenarios to which regenerative medicine aspires and that is being announced as one of the great promises of twenty-first century biomedicine for the treatment of a long list of diseases affecting people today. [More]
Discovery could open up door for cancer research and treatment

Discovery could open up door for cancer research and treatment

Florida State University researchers have taken a big step forward in the fight against cancer with a discovery that could open up the door for new research and treatment options. [More]
Researchers identify new virus that plays role in rare type of liver cancer

Researchers identify new virus that plays role in rare type of liver cancer

More than a cause of a simple infection, viruses are often involved in the development of serious diseases. Such is the case with liver cancer, which often develops in an organ that has been weakened by hepatitis B or C virus. [More]
Obesity raises Lynch syndrome CRC risk

Obesity raises Lynch syndrome CRC risk

Obesity increases the risk of colorectal cancer in patients with Lynch syndrome, research indicates, but daily aspirin use may combat this excess risk. [More]
Researchers find way to trigger 'virus alert' that may help boost drug's ability to prevent cancer cells

Researchers find way to trigger 'virus alert' that may help boost drug's ability to prevent cancer cells

Working with human cancer cell lines and mice, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and elsewhere have found a way to trigger a type of immune system "virus alert" that may one day boost cancer patients' response to immunotherapy drugs. An increasingly promising focus of cancer research, the drugs are designed to disarm cancer cells' ability to avoid detection and destruction by the immune system. [More]
Discovery could help in development of novel cancer-selective viral therapies

Discovery could help in development of novel cancer-selective viral therapies

Every organism--from a seedling to a president--must protect its DNA at all costs, but precisely how a cell distinguishes between damage to its own DNA and the foreign DNA of an invading virus has remained a mystery. [More]
New test predicts breast cancer relapse months in advance

New test predicts breast cancer relapse months in advance

UK-based researchers have developed a blood test that can predict whether patients with breast cancer will experience a relapse after receiving treatment, months before tumors are visible using hospital scans. [More]
New study describes multi-method strategy to improve detection of PMS2 gene mutations in Lynch syndrome

New study describes multi-method strategy to improve detection of PMS2 gene mutations in Lynch syndrome

About 3% of colorectal cancers are due to Lynch syndrome, an inherited cancer susceptibility syndrome that predisposes individuals to various cancers. Close blood relatives of patients with Lynch syndrome have a 50% chance of inheritance. The role that PMS2 genetic mutations play in Lynch syndrome has been underestimated in part due to technological limitations. [More]
Common gene mutation may cause brain damage associated with ALS and FTD

Common gene mutation may cause brain damage associated with ALS and FTD

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered some of the first steps in how a very common gene mutation causes the brain damage associated with both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). [More]
Theresa Alenghat receives 2015 AGA-CCFA-Janssen Research Award in IBD Epigenetics Research

Theresa Alenghat receives 2015 AGA-CCFA-Janssen Research Award in IBD Epigenetics Research

The American Gastroenterological Association, in partnership with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America and Janssen Biotech, Inc., announced today that Theresa Alenghat, VMD, PhD, from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH, was awarded with the 2015 AGA-CCFA-Janssen Research Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Epigenetics Research. [More]
ASTRO awards $675,000 to seven physician-researchers to advance radiation oncology research

ASTRO awards $675,000 to seven physician-researchers to advance radiation oncology research

The American Society for Radiation Oncology has selected seven leading physician-researchers to receive a total of $675,000 in awards and grants to advance radiation oncology research. Together, the seven funding grants, including ASTRO Junior Faculty Career Research Training Award, the ASTRO Residents/Fellows in Radiation Oncology Research Seed Award and the ASTRO/Radiation Oncology Institute Comparative Effectiveness Research Award, will support studies in radiation and cancer biology, radiation physics, translational research, outcomes/health services research and comparative effectiveness research within radiation oncology. [More]
Scientists reveal how a common gene mutation in ALS and FTD disrupts normal cell function

Scientists reveal how a common gene mutation in ALS and FTD disrupts normal cell function

Researchers have determined how the most common gene mutation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) disrupts normal cell function, providing insight likely to advance efforts to develop targeted therapies for these brain diseases. [More]
GOSH to improve rare disease diagnosis with adoption of Congenica’s Sapientia technology

GOSH to improve rare disease diagnosis with adoption of Congenica’s Sapientia technology

Ian was ‘a clumsy child’. He kept bumping into objects and couldn’t see well in the dark. He endured 15 years of tests and misdiagnoses during a lengthy, and sometimes traumatic, diagnostic odyssey. [More]
Variations in opioid receptor genes linked to neonatal abstinence syndrome severity in newborn babies

Variations in opioid receptor genes linked to neonatal abstinence syndrome severity in newborn babies

A new study led by researchers at Boston Medical Center indicates that variations in opioid receptor genes are associated with more severe neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in newborn babies. The findings, published online in Drug & Alcohol Dependence, could help lead to the development of individualized treatment plans tailored to each infants' risk of requiring medication to curb their NAS symptoms, which could help improve these patients' outcomes and reduce how long some stay in the hospital. [More]
Persistent leukemia-associated genetic mutations linked to increased risk of relapse, reduced overall survival

Persistent leukemia-associated genetic mutations linked to increased risk of relapse, reduced overall survival

In preliminary research, the detection of persistent leukemia-associated genetic mutations in at least 5 percent of bone marrow cells in day 30 remission samples among adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia was associated with an increased risk of relapse and reduced overall survival, according to a study in the August 25 issue of JAMA. [More]
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