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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.
TET1 enzyme may be important target for cancer diagnostics, treatment

TET1 enzyme may be important target for cancer diagnostics, treatment

Mutations in the KRAS gene have long been known to cause cancer, and about one third of solid tumors have KRAS mutations or mutations in the KRAS pathway. KRAS promotes cancer formation not only by driving cell growth and division, but also by turning off protective tumor suppressor genes, which normally limit uncontrolled cell growth and cause damaged cells to self-destruct. [More]
CMU scientists use Harry Potter book to identify brain activity

CMU scientists use Harry Potter book to identify brain activity

Some people say that reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" taught them the importance of friends, or that easy decisions are seldom right. Carnegie Mellon University scientists used a chapter of that book to learn a different lesson: identifying what different regions of the brain are doing when people read. [More]
Researchers find unusual role of lactate in metabolism of alveolar soft part sarcoma

Researchers find unusual role of lactate in metabolism of alveolar soft part sarcoma

Researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah discovered the unusual role of lactate in the metabolism of alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS), a rare, aggressive cancer that primarily affects adolescents and young adults. The study also confirmed that a fusion gene is the cancer-causing agent in this disease. [More]
New research brings personalized cancer vaccine approach one step closer to reality

New research brings personalized cancer vaccine approach one step closer to reality

In the near future, physicians may treat some cancer patients with personalized vaccines that spur their immune systems to attack malignant tumors. New research led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has brought the approach one step closer to reality. [More]
Researchers uncover easily detectable, 'pre-malignant' state in the blood

Researchers uncover easily detectable, 'pre-malignant' state in the blood

Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals have uncovered an easily detectable, "pre-malignant" state in the blood that significantly increases the likelihood that an individual will go on to develop blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myelodysplastic syndrome. [More]
Tufts University study explores relationship between transcription, expansions of DNA repeats

Tufts University study explores relationship between transcription, expansions of DNA repeats

Researchers in human genetics have known that long nucleotide repeats in DNA lead to instability of the genome and ultimately to human hereditary diseases such Freidreich's ataxia and Huntington's disease. [More]
New Sophia DDM platform offers full BRCA1/2 analysis on a single NGS run

New Sophia DDM platform offers full BRCA1/2 analysis on a single NGS run

Sophia Genetics, the European leader in Clinical Genomics and Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS), has today launched a major upgrade to its Data Driven Medicine Platform (Sophia DDM), offering full BRCA1/2 analysis on a single NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) run, for the first time. [More]
Antibiotic for infections comes from good bacteria found in turkeys

Antibiotic for infections comes from good bacteria found in turkeys

While the turkey you eat on Thursday will bring your stomach happiness and could probably kick-start an afternoon nap, it may also save your life one day. [More]
New hybrid vehicle to improve delivery of DNA vaccines is under development

New hybrid vehicle to improve delivery of DNA vaccines is under development

Described recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the technology is a biomedical advancement that could help unleash the potential of DNA vaccines, which despite two decades of research, have yet to make a significant impact in the treatment of major illnesses. [More]
Study reveals how one type of DNA damage may lead to several human diseases

Study reveals how one type of DNA damage may lead to several human diseases

Using a new imaging technique, National Institutes of Health researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures. These damaged molecules trigger cell death that produces some human diseases, according to the researchers. [More]
Janssen submits YONDELIS NDA for treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcoma

Janssen submits YONDELIS NDA for treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcoma

PharmaMar announces that Janssen Research & Development, LLC has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) for YONDELIS (trabectedin) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma (STS), including liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma subtypes, who have received prior chemotherapy including an anthracycline. [More]
Choosing the best way to verify the quality and quantity of Chromatin Immunoprecipitation DNA

Choosing the best way to verify the quality and quantity of Chromatin Immunoprecipitation DNA

Porvair Sciences has published a new guide to help laboratories choose the best way to verify the quality and quantity of their Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) DNA. [More]
IBM, ASU scientists develop prototype DNA reader

IBM, ASU scientists develop prototype DNA reader

A team of scientists from Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center have developed a prototype DNA reader that could make whole genome profiling an everyday practice in medicine. [More]
Authors review current progress in developing transgenic pig models for human diseases

Authors review current progress in developing transgenic pig models for human diseases

Genetically engineered pigs, minipigs, and microminipigs are valuable tools for biomedical research, as their lifespan, anatomy, physiology, genetic make-up, and disease mechanisms are more similar to humans than the rodent models typically used in drug discovery research. [More]
Five USF faculty members named AAAS Fellow

Five USF faculty members named AAAS Fellow

Five faculty members from the University of South Florida in Tampa have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. [More]
Scientists develop new method to rapidly identify antibiotic resistance

Scientists develop new method to rapidly identify antibiotic resistance

Scientists from Uppsala University, the Science for Life Laboratory in Stockholm and Uppsala University Hospital have developed a new method of rapidly identifying which bacteria are causing an infection and determining whether they are resistant or sensitive to antibiotics. [More]
Researchers discover why only some patients respond to ipilimumab drug

Researchers discover why only some patients respond to ipilimumab drug

A collaborative team of leaders in the field of cancer immunology from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has made a key discovery that advances the understanding of why some patients respond to ipilimumab, an immunotherapy drug, while others do not. MSK was at the forefront of the clinical research that brought this CTLA-4 blocking antibody to melanoma patients. [More]
Researchers examine genomic landscapes of humans and mice

Researchers examine genomic landscapes of humans and mice

Looking across evolutionary time and the genomic landscapes of humans and mice, an international group of researchers has found powerful clues to why certain processes and systems in the mouse - such as the immune system, metabolism and stress response - are so different from those in people. Building on years of mouse and gene regulation studies, they have developed a resource that can help scientists better understand how similarities and differences between mice and humans are written in their genomes. [More]
Promising molecular diagnostic approach to endometriosis

Promising molecular diagnostic approach to endometriosis

Researchers at UC San Francisco have identified patterns of genetic activity that can be used to diagnose endometriosis and its severity, a finding that may offer millions of women an alternative to surgery through a simple noninvasive procedure. [More]
Researchers discover new method to deliver drugs into aggressive tumors

Researchers discover new method to deliver drugs into aggressive tumors

A multi-disciplinary team of Yale Cancer Center researchers has discovered a promising new method for delivering drugs into aggressive tumors by exploiting a unique feature of tumors themselves. [More]