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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.
Penn State to receive $1.84 million over five years to explore craniosynostosis

Penn State to receive $1.84 million over five years to explore craniosynostosis

Penn State will receive $1.84 million over five years as a subcontract on a National Institutes of Health grant through the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, N.Y., to explore craniosynostosis, a birth defect that includes facial and cranial dysmorphology. [More]
Panorama SNP-based non-invasive prenatal test can detect complete molar pregnancy

Panorama SNP-based non-invasive prenatal test can detect complete molar pregnancy

Natera, Inc., a leader in non-invasive genetic testing, today announced a study published in Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology demonstrating that the Panorama single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) can identify a complete molar pregnancy in the first trimester. [More]
IDT to host instructive talk on accelerating synthetic biology at ASM General Meeting

IDT to host instructive talk on accelerating synthetic biology at ASM General Meeting

Integrated DNA Technologies will host an instructive talk on accelerating synthetic biology at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday May 31, 2015 at 11am CDT. [More]
Congress needs to act to incentivize development of genomic data systems

Congress needs to act to incentivize development of genomic data systems

The latest generation of genomic testing offers a chance for significant improvements in patient care, disease prevention, and possibly even the cost-effectiveness of healthcare, but Congress needs to act to incentivize the development of the massive data systems that doctors and regulators will need in order to make these tests safe and effective for patients. [More]
Six research teams awarded grant to accelerate discovery of new drugs for brain, nervous system disorders

Six research teams awarded grant to accelerate discovery of new drugs for brain, nervous system disorders

CQDM, Brain Canada and the Ontario Brain Institute award close to $8.5M to six (6) multi-disciplinary and multi-provincial research teams across Canada to address unmet needs in neuroscience within their Focus on Brain strategic initiative. To this amount, $1.5M is added from the various research entities involved as in-kind contributions. [More]
Quicker, more effective, and more reliable protocols for RNA extractions

Quicker, more effective, and more reliable protocols for RNA extractions

Ask any molecular plant biologist about RNA extractions and you might just open up the floodgates to the woes of troubleshooting. RNA extraction is a notoriously tricky and sensitive lab procedure. New protocols out of the University of Florida are quicker, more effective, and more reliable than previous methods. [More]
Ceres receives U.S. patent for genetic sequence obtained from soybean

Ceres receives U.S. patent for genetic sequence obtained from soybean

Ceres, Inc., an agricultural biotechnology company, has been awarded a U.S. patent for a genetic sequence derived from soybean, covering uses of the gene in areas such as research, product development and plant transformation. [More]
Individually rare CNVs may be negatively associated with educational attainment

Individually rare CNVs may be negatively associated with educational attainment

Individually rare but collectively common intermediate-size copy number variations may be negatively associated with educational attainment, according to a study in the May 26 issue of JAMA. Copy number variations (CNVs) are regions of the genome that differ in the number of segments of DNA. [More]
Clinical utility data for Guardant360 platform to be presented at ASCO 2015

Clinical utility data for Guardant360 platform to be presented at ASCO 2015

Guardant Health today announced that five abstracts submitted by the University of California, San Francisco; University of California, San Diego; and MD Anderson highlighting the performance and clinical utility of Guardant360 have been accepted for oral and poster presentations at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago, May 29-June 2. [More]
New tool could help identify pathogens in food and beverages

New tool could help identify pathogens in food and beverages

Researchers at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico, developed a technology capable of identifying pathogens in food and beverages. This technique could work in the restaurant industry as a biosensor to detect in what conditions food is before being eaten in order to avoid possible gastrointestinal diseases. [More]
DNA changes during drug withdrawal may offer promising ways to develop effective addiction treatments

DNA changes during drug withdrawal may offer promising ways to develop effective addiction treatments

One of the major challenges of cocaine addiction is the high rate of relapse after periods of withdrawal and abstinence. But new research reveals that changes in our DNA during drug withdrawal may offer promising ways of developing more effective treatments for addiction. [More]
Study analyses advantages of using fractions of ejaculate in IVF

Study analyses advantages of using fractions of ejaculate in IVF

Sperm in the first fraction of ejaculate are more numerous, move more and present better quality DNA than those lagging behind. This is the conclusion of a study led by the Ginemed fertility clinic, which confirms that while the objective of the first fraction is to fertilise the egg, the second phase is so that no sperm from any other male has a chance to fertilise it. [More]
Study explores how one genome could produce three different castes within bumblebees

Study explores how one genome could produce three different castes within bumblebees

Biologists from the University of Leicester have discovered that one of nature's most important pollinators - the buff-tailed bumblebee - either ascends to the status of queen or remains a lowly worker bee based on which genes are 'turned on' during its lifespan. [More]
UVA scientists find blueprint for combating human disease using DNA clad in near-indestructible armor

UVA scientists find blueprint for combating human disease using DNA clad in near-indestructible armor

By unlocking the secrets of a bizarre virus that survives in nearly boiling acid, scientists at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have found a blueprint for battling human disease using DNA clad in near-indestructible armor. [More]
Pitt scientists identify two new classes of RNAs closely associated with cancer biomarker

Pitt scientists identify two new classes of RNAs closely associated with cancer biomarker

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have identified two new classes of RNAs that are closely associated with a protein known to be a prognostic biomarker for breast cancer and could play a role in progression of prostate cancer. [More]
Researchers identify six mRNA isoforms that could be used to diagnose early-stage ovarian cancer

Researchers identify six mRNA isoforms that could be used to diagnose early-stage ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, making it an especially fatal disease. Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have now identified six mRNA isoforms (bits of genetic material) produced by ovarian cancer cells but not normal cells, opening up the possibility that they could be used to diagnose early-stage ovarian cancer. [More]
Essential fatty acids play crucial role in human brain growth and function

Essential fatty acids play crucial role in human brain growth and function

New research conducted in a rural community in Pakistan highlights the crucial role that essential fatty acids play in human brain growth and function. [More]
Researchers identify gene vital to production of pain-sensing neurons in humans

Researchers identify gene vital to production of pain-sensing neurons in humans

A gene essential to the production of pain-sensing neurons in humans has been identified by an international team of researchers co-led by the University of Cambridge. The discovery, reported today in the journal Nature Genetics, could have implications for the development of new methods of pain relief. [More]
Mayo Clinic scientists create mouse model of ALS, FTD caused by mutations in C9ORF72 gene

Mayo Clinic scientists create mouse model of ALS, FTD caused by mutations in C9ORF72 gene

Scientists at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida created a novel mouse that exhibits the symptoms and neurodegeneration associated with the most common genetic forms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease), both of which are caused by a mutation in the a gene called C9ORF72. [More]
Scientists uncover role of HTRA3 protease in Cockayne syndrome

Scientists uncover role of HTRA3 protease in Cockayne syndrome

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and CNRS, in collaboration with scientists from the Institut Gustave Roussy and CEA, have succeeded in restoring normal activity in cells isolated from patients with the premature aging disease Cockayne syndrome. They have uncovered the role played in these cells by an enzyme, the HTRA3 protease. [More]
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