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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.
Study reveals unexpected process for acquiring chemoresistance in breast cancers

Study reveals unexpected process for acquiring chemoresistance in breast cancers

A laboratory study has revealed an entirely unexpected process for acquiring drug resistance that bypasses the need to re-establish DNA damage repair in breast cancers that have mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. [More]
Study uncovers new drug-gene mutation combinations that can kill cancer cells

Study uncovers new drug-gene mutation combinations that can kill cancer cells

In an effort to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be specifically targeted with personalized therapies, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center looked for combinations of mutated genes and drugs that together kill cancer cells. [More]
Combinations of three antibiotics could help combat drug-resistant bacterial infections

Combinations of three antibiotics could help combat drug-resistant bacterial infections

Each year, approximately 700,000 people die from drug-resistant bacterial infections. A study by UCLA life scientists could be a major step toward combating drug-resistant infections. [More]
Scientists design and construct 10 large protein icosahedra to improve drug delivery

Scientists design and construct 10 large protein icosahedra to improve drug delivery

Using novel computational and biochemical approaches, scientists have accurately designed and built from scratch 10 large protein icosahedra--polyhedra with 20 faces--similar to viral capsids that carry viral DNA. [More]
Key gene controls ability of adult stem cells to regenerate muscle after injury, study finds

Key gene controls ability of adult stem cells to regenerate muscle after injury, study finds

A key gene enables the repair of injured muscle throughout life. This is the finding of a study in mice led by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and the University of Colorado at Boulder, and published online July 21 in Cell Reports. [More]
Study highlights role of BCL11A gene in intellectual disability syndrome

Study highlights role of BCL11A gene in intellectual disability syndrome

Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics have found a gene responsible for an intellectual disability disorder and proven how it works. [More]
BET inhibitor treatment decreases lung inflammation in mice

BET inhibitor treatment decreases lung inflammation in mice

Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) suffer from chronic respiratory infections, primarily caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which lead to airway inflammation and damage. [More]
Scientists find promising new method to detect and treat recurrence of ovarian cancer

Scientists find promising new method to detect and treat recurrence of ovarian cancer

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine have found a promising new way to monitor and treat recurrence of ovarian cancer -- a hard-to-detect disease that claims many lives. [More]
New study sheds light on pathogenesis of DNA lesions present in leukemia

New study sheds light on pathogenesis of DNA lesions present in leukemia

Researchers have succeeded in shedding light on the pathogenesis of DNA breakpoints that are associated with leukemia. [More]
Enhancers can boost frequency of transcriptional bursting, study shows

Enhancers can boost frequency of transcriptional bursting, study shows

A new study by researchers at Princeton University suggests that sporadic bursts of gene activity may be important features of genetic regulation rather than just occasional mishaps. [More]
New wonder compound offers strong protection against harmful effects of UVA rays

New wonder compound offers strong protection against harmful effects of UVA rays

A new wonder compound developed by University of Bath scientists in collaboration with King's College London offers unprecedented protection against the harmful effects of UVA radiation in sunlight, which include photo-ageing, cell damage and cancer. [More]
Eating more healthy fats may lower type 2 diabetes risk

Eating more healthy fats may lower type 2 diabetes risk

Eating more unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, in place of either dietary carbohydrate or saturated fats lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin resistance and secretion, according to a new meta-analysis of data from 102 randomised controlled feeding trials in adults. [More]
Scientists detect gut bacteria in deepest reaches of failing lungs

Scientists detect gut bacteria in deepest reaches of failing lungs

No one knows for sure how they got there. But the discovery that bacteria that normally live in the gut can be detected in the lungs of critically ill people and animals could mean a lot for intensive care patients. [More]
NorthShore launches first clinical trial to examine GRS test for cancer risk assessment

NorthShore launches first clinical trial to examine GRS test for cancer risk assessment

Researchers at NorthShore University HealthSystem have launched the first clinical trial to investigate a genetic risk score (GRS) test to predict the risk of breast, prostate and colorectal cancer in the primary care setting. [More]
Cambridge Consultants creates new Evonetix spin-out to focus on accurate DNA synthesis

Cambridge Consultants creates new Evonetix spin-out to focus on accurate DNA synthesis

A breakthrough in DNA synthesis has led to the creation of a new spin-out company from the stable of product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants. [More]
Chromatrap describes methodologies to increase ChIP efficiency

Chromatrap describes methodologies to increase ChIP efficiency

Chromatrap, a business unit of Porvair Sciences, has published a new technical article that discusses and describes methodologies to increase Chromatin Immunoprecipitation efficiency by making sure chromatin in your samples is sheared to the correct size range. [More]
AMSBIO launches new CRISPR gRNA Lentivector Cloning Kits

AMSBIO launches new CRISPR gRNA Lentivector Cloning Kits

Anglo-American life science firm AMSBIO has introduced new CRISPR gRNA Lentivector Cloning Kits that provide scientists with a targeted and precise genomic gene editing methodology. [More]
Scientists explore black box of genome biology

Scientists explore black box of genome biology

Scientists at Florida State University, Baylor College of Medicine and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT have broken ground in a little-understood area of human genetics. [More]
Study finds new data about dMMR's hereditary basis in rectal cancer

Study finds new data about dMMR's hereditary basis in rectal cancer

Up to 15 percent of colorectal cancers show a genetic mutation known as DNA mismatch repair deficiency, or dMMR. [More]
Mutations in STN1 gene cause Coats plus syndrome

Mutations in STN1 gene cause Coats plus syndrome

A team of Israeli researchers has discovered that mutations in STN1, a gene that helps maintain the ends of chromosomes, cause the rare, inherited disorder Coats plus syndrome. [More]
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