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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.
Novel combination therapy may help provide clinically successful treatment for AD

Novel combination therapy may help provide clinically successful treatment for AD

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenolic phytochemical produced in several plants, especially grapes skin and seeds. One epidemiological study reported a positive association between moderate red wine consumption and a low incidence of cardiovascular disease, known as the "French Paradox." [More]
Health-promoting bacteria may protect women from breast cancer

Health-promoting bacteria may protect women from breast cancer

Bacteria that have the potential to abet breast cancer are present in the breasts of cancer patients, while beneficial bacteria are more abundant in healthy breasts, where they may actually be protecting women from cancer, according to Gregor Reid, PhD, and his collaborators. [More]
Researchers tune into previously unknown cross talk between estrogen and progesterone receptors

Researchers tune into previously unknown cross talk between estrogen and progesterone receptors

One of the first clues pathologists look for in tissue from a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient is the estrogen receptor, a nuclear protein that converts hormonal messages in the bloodstream into instructions for the cell about how to behave [More]
HMC signal could be used to detect diseases and to personalize medication

HMC signal could be used to detect diseases and to personalize medication

Common diseases like allergy, diabetes and other immune diseases have increased dramatically in recent decades. This indicates that the environment may have a more important role than genes in explaining this increase. [More]
Researchers identify new potential target for pancreatic cancer treatment

Researchers identify new potential target for pancreatic cancer treatment

Using an innovative approach to identify a cancer's genetic vulnerabilities by more swiftly analyzing human tumors transplanted into mice, researchers have identified a new potential target for pancreatic cancer treatment, published online in Cell Reports. [More]
The future of simulated teaching methods: an interview with Dr Robert Amyot

The future of simulated teaching methods: an interview with Dr Robert Amyot

In healthcare, we have physicians, nurses and paramedics who know the textbook by heart and know exactly what they need to do, but have never experienced the procedure first-hand, or they have no experience responding to adverse events that may occur. [More]
Positive environment can reverse trauma-related behavioral alterations in mice

Positive environment can reverse trauma-related behavioral alterations in mice

Traumatic experiences in childhood increase the risk of developing behavioral and psychiatric disorders later in life. It is also known that the consequences of a trauma can likewise be observed in the children of people affected even if those children have themselves not experienced any trauma. [More]
Scientists discover how faulty genetic instructions contribute to development of AML

Scientists discover how faulty genetic instructions contribute to development of AML

Scientists have previously identified a series of genetic errors that commonly occur inside cancerous blood cells, but it hasn't been clear exactly how those genetic malfunctions create immature blood cells that overpopulate, crowd out healthy cells and spread in patients with acute myeloid leukemia or AML. [More]
Researchers use sensitive technique to reveal high levels of genetic heterogeneity in schizophrenia

Researchers use sensitive technique to reveal high levels of genetic heterogeneity in schizophrenia

International researchers centered at Nagoya University use a highly sensitive technique to identify significantly more DNA sequence repeats in patients with schizophrenia than in control individuals, and outline a possible link between genome instability and disease. [More]
Study reveals surprising diversity in single neuronal transcriptomes of the brain

Study reveals surprising diversity in single neuronal transcriptomes of the brain

A team of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, University of California, San Diego and Illumina, Inc., has completed the first large-scale assessment of single neuronal "transcriptomes." [More]
Scientists streamline total synthesis of uncialamycin drug

Scientists streamline total synthesis of uncialamycin drug

A team led by Rice University scientists has improved the production of a potent anti-tumor antibiotic known as uncialamycin. [More]
Scientists discover RNA methylation could strengthen memory formation

Scientists discover RNA methylation could strengthen memory formation

New insight into the process that converts experiences into stable long-term memories has been uncovered by neurobiologists from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Queensland. [More]
'Simple' model predicts PegIFN response in chronic HBV

'Simple' model predicts PegIFN response in chronic HBV

Chinese researchers have developed a scoring system based on hepatitis B virus-related clinical parameters to predict response to pegylated-interferon in chronic HBV patients. [More]
Maternal HBsAg can serve as HBV vertical transmission marker

Maternal HBsAg can serve as HBV vertical transmission marker

Two studies have independently identified quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen as a marker to identify pregnant women with chronic hepatitis B virus infection whose infants are at high-risk of infection despite immunoprophylaxis. [More]
Sperm of smokers has greater extent of DNA damage than that of non-smokers

Sperm of smokers has greater extent of DNA damage than that of non-smokers

A recent study found that that sperm of men who smoke has a greater extent of DNA damage than that of non-smokers. [More]
Researchers reveal DNA unwrapping can happen asymmetrically to expose specific genes

Researchers reveal DNA unwrapping can happen asymmetrically to expose specific genes

The protein complex that holds strands of DNA in compact spools partially disassembles itself to help genes reveal themselves to specialized proteins and enzymes for activation, according to Rice University researchers and their colleagues. [More]
Researchers develop plasma QC assay for downstream metabolomics applications

Researchers develop plasma QC assay for downstream metabolomics applications

Researchers from IBBL and the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine of the University of Luxembourg have investigated the impact of variations in temperature and delays during blood sample processing on downstream metabolomics applications. [More]
New study suggests how rod photoreceptors may have originated to give rise to nocturnal mammals

New study suggests how rod photoreceptors may have originated to give rise to nocturnal mammals

Retinas from our earliest vertebrate ancestors had cone-like photoreceptors, presumably allowing them to see in daylight, but little ability to see at night. Then, millions of years ago in the Mesozoic era, and in relatively short order, mammals emerged that had retinas with predominantly rod photoreceptors, allowing for them to see at night perhaps to hunt for food while their dinosaur predators were dozing. [More]
Protein-based CHD risk score developed

Protein-based CHD risk score developed

Researchers have screened over 1000 plasma proteins to develop a predictive score in patients with stable coronary heart disease. [More]
Scientists join together to map urban subway microbiome

Scientists join together to map urban subway microbiome

Scientists at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain, have joined today the Global City Sampling Day for the MetaSub research project. Started in 2013 in New York and led by Dr. Christopher E Mason at Weill Cornell Medicine, MetaSub is an international consortium of laboratories to establish a world-wide "DNA map" of microbiomes in mass transit systems. [More]
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