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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.
Cedars-Sinai investigators developing novel treatment for locally advanced pancreatic cancer

Cedars-Sinai investigators developing novel treatment for locally advanced pancreatic cancer

Investigators at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute are developing a novel, multistep investigational treatment for one of the most complex and difficult-to-treat forms of the disease, locally advanced pancreatic cancer. [More]
Iowa researchers develop vaccine to combat dust-mite allergies

Iowa researchers develop vaccine to combat dust-mite allergies

Researchers at the University of Iowa have developed a vaccine that can combat dust-mite allergies by naturally switching the body's immune response. [More]
Vanderbilt-led research team identifies protein "signatures" that drive colorectal cancer

Vanderbilt-led research team identifies protein "signatures" that drive colorectal cancer

A Vanderbilt University-led research team has identified protein "signatures" of genetic mutations that drive colorectal cancer, the nation's second leading cause of cancer deaths after lung cancer. [More]
Research findings could lead to new approaches to treating schizophrenia

Research findings could lead to new approaches to treating schizophrenia

As part of a multinational, collaborative effort, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have helped identify over 100 locations in the human genome associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia, in the largest genomic study published on any psychiatric disorder to date, conducted with 80,000 people. [More]
VCU awarded $3 million grant to study how childhood adverse experiences create long-term health risks

VCU awarded $3 million grant to study how childhood adverse experiences create long-term health risks

Virginia Commonwealth University has received a five-year, $3 million grant to study how adverse experiences such as severe illnesses, neglect and maltreatment during childhood leave molecular marks in DNA that predict health risks later in life. [More]
Study suggests possible link between immune system and schizophrenia

Study suggests possible link between immune system and schizophrenia

Nancy Buccola, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, CNE, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Nursing, contributed samples used in a study reporting new locations of genetic material associated with schizophrenia and also suggesting a possible link between the immune system and schizophrenia. [More]
SIV can be entrenched in tissues before virus is detectable in blood plasma

SIV can be entrenched in tissues before virus is detectable in blood plasma

Scientists have generally believed that HIV and its monkey equivalent, SIV, gain a permanent foothold in the body very early after infection, making it difficult to completely eliminate the virus even after antiretroviral therapy has controlled it. [More]
Researchers prove that CD27 drug is true alternative against malaria

Researchers prove that CD27 drug is true alternative against malaria

Researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), the Instituto de Química Mèdica (IQM-CSIC) and the University of Glasgow have proved that the CD27 drug is a true alternative against malaria. [More]

Addcare’s liquid handling systems, automated immunoassay workstations, customized systems

Addcare Bio-Tech Co., Ltd. provides advanced liquid handling systems, automated immunoassay workstations and customized systems. [More]
Viruses designed to kill cancer cells could boost effectiveness of chemotherapy to arms, legs

Viruses designed to kill cancer cells could boost effectiveness of chemotherapy to arms, legs

Viruses designed to target and kill cancer cells could boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy to the arms and legs and help avoid amputation, a new study reports. [More]
New chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing kit developed by Porvair Sciences

New chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing kit developed by Porvair Sciences

Porvair Sciences has developed a new ChIP sequencing assay kit extending the benefits of their proprietary Chromatrap® solid state ChIP technology to preparation of purified Chromatin for the generation of sequencing libraries. [More]
Study confirms effectiveness of EKF PointMan technology for isolating low-level DNA mutations in blood

Study confirms effectiveness of EKF PointMan technology for isolating low-level DNA mutations in blood

EKF Diagnostics, the global diagnostics company, announces that the latest results from its collaboration with the Institute of Life Sciences at the University of Swansea, UK, have continued to confirm the effectiveness of its PointMan DNA enrichment technology for isolating and characterizing low-level DNA mutations in blood. [More]
First diagnostic criteria proposed for Christianson Syndrome

First diagnostic criteria proposed for Christianson Syndrome

Because the severe autism-like condition Christianson Syndrome was only first reported in 1999 and some symptoms take more than a decade to appear, families and doctors urgently need fundamental information about it. A new study that doubles the number of cases now documented in the scientific literature provides the most definitive characterization of CS to date. [More]
Unnatural DNA bases: an interview with Professor Floyd E. Romesberg, The Scripps Research Institute

Unnatural DNA bases: an interview with Professor Floyd E. Romesberg, The Scripps Research Institute

The natural DNA bases that form the letters of DNA are usually referred to as G, C, A, and T. Those are only the first letters of the chemical names. They’re often called nucleotides by their scientific name and all of them have in common a phosphate part, a sugar part and a nucleobase part. [More]
Study of woodrats may impact farming practices in arid regions

Study of woodrats may impact farming practices in arid regions

Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes from creosote-eaters, University of Utah biologists found. [More]
Researchers use safer method to stimulate ovulation in women undergoing IVF treatment

Researchers use safer method to stimulate ovulation in women undergoing IVF treatment

Researchers have successfully used a new and potentially safer method to stimulate ovulation in women undergoing IVF treatment. [More]
Scientists reveal structure of protein involved in life and development of cancer

Scientists reveal structure of protein involved in life and development of cancer

Scientists reveal the structure of one of the most important and complicated proteins in cell division - a fundamental process in life and the development of cancer - in research published in Nature today (Sunday). [More]
Marmoset's unique rapid reproductive system sheds new light on evolution and primate biology

Marmoset's unique rapid reproductive system sheds new light on evolution and primate biology

A team of scientists from around the world led by Baylor College of Medicine and Washington University in St. Louis has completed the genome sequence of the common marmoset - the first sequence of a New World Monkey - providing new information about the marmoset's unique rapid reproductive system, physiology and growth, shedding new light on primate biology and evolution. [More]
Three leading universities join forces to find better solutions for patients with craniofacial defects

Three leading universities join forces to find better solutions for patients with craniofacial defects

One in every 2,000 babies is born with a skull that can't grow normally. Various sections of these babies' skulls are fused together at joints called sutures, constricting the developing brain and disrupting vision, sleep, eating and IQ. For these young patients, risky skull-expanding surgeries become an almost annual event. [More]
Researchers develop new single-cell technique to study environmental effects on DNA

Researchers develop new single-cell technique to study environmental effects on DNA

Researchers at the BBSRC-funded Babraham Institute, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Single Cell Genomics Centre, have developed a powerful new single-cell technique to help investigate how the environment affects our development and the traits we inherit from our parents. [More]