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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.
NEB announces introduction of one-step cloning and multiple DNA fragment assembly

NEB announces introduction of one-step cloning and multiple DNA fragment assembly

New England Biolabs announces the introduction of the NEBuilder HiFi DNA Assembly Cloning Kit and Master Mix for one-step cloning and multiple DNA fragment assembly in as little as 15 minutes. [More]
Researchers reveal why many African-American women are diagnosed with deadly forms of breast cancer

Researchers reveal why many African-American women are diagnosed with deadly forms of breast cancer

Researchers have uncovered new information that may begin to explain why many African-American women are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive, often deadly forms of breast cancer, which strengthens the evidence that increased dietary folate intake may prove to be an effective strategy for reducing risk for the disease in African-American women. [More]
Some genetic features associated with modern diseases are ancient

Some genetic features associated with modern diseases are ancient

Psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, can cause rashes that itch and sting. So why would a genetic susceptibility to this and other ailments persist for hundreds of thousands of years, afflicting our ancient ancestors, and us? [More]
Emory researchers complete detailed maps of 184 duplications found in genomes

Emory researchers complete detailed maps of 184 duplications found in genomes

Copy number variations (deletions or duplications of large chunks of the genome) are a major cause of birth defects, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders. Still, geneticists can definitively say how a CNV, once discovered in someone's DNA, leads to one of these conditions in just a fraction of cases. [More]
Scientists identify biological clock that can help predict individual's age

Scientists identify biological clock that can help predict individual's age

Scientists have identified a biological clock that provides vital clues about how long a person is likely to live. [More]
TSRI researchers awarded grant to develop novel method for detecting DNA damage in stem cells

TSRI researchers awarded grant to develop novel method for detecting DNA damage in stem cells

A team at The Scripps Research Institute has won a $1,784,000 grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The funding will support the development of a new method for detecting DNA damage in stem cells to ensure that only the highest quality cells are used in transplantation or therapy. [More]
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation names 15 new Damon Runyon Fellows

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation names 15 new Damon Runyon Fellows

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on supporting innovative early career researchers, named 15 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its fall Fellowship Award Committee review. The recipients of this prestigious, four-year award are outstanding postdoctoral scientists conducting basic and translational cancer research in the laboratories of leading senior investigators across the country. [More]
Nanoscale DNA tool to detect molecular behavior

Nanoscale DNA tool to detect molecular behavior

A complex interplay of molecular components governs almost all aspects of biological sciences - healthy organism development, disease progression, and drug efficacy are all dependent on the way life's molecules interact in the body. Understanding these bio-molecular interactions is critical for the discovery of new, more effective therapeutics and diagnostics to treat cancer and other diseases, but currently requires scientists to have access to expensive and elaborate laboratory equipment. [More]
MD Anderson and AstraZeneca to conduct multiple studies in ovarian, gynecologic cancers

MD Anderson and AstraZeneca to conduct multiple studies in ovarian, gynecologic cancers

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and AstraZeneca today announced a multiyear strategic research collaboration to conduct multiple, parallel clinical and clinically related studies in ovarian and other gynecologic cancers with the aim of improving patient outcomes. [More]
TAU researchers identify novel proteins capable of stymieing growth in antibiotic-resistant bacteria

TAU researchers identify novel proteins capable of stymieing growth in antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, foiling efforts to reduce death rates in developing countries where uncontrolled use of antibiotics and poor sanitation run amok. The epidemic of "superbugs," bacteria resistant to antibiotics, knows no borders -- presenting a clear and present danger around the globe. [More]
New insight on how naturally occurring mutations can be introduced into DNA

New insight on how naturally occurring mutations can be introduced into DNA

Scientists have shed light on how naturally occurring mutations can be introduced into our DNA. [More]
Cell-penetrating nanoparticles can efficiently transport oligonucleotide drugs into cells

Cell-penetrating nanoparticles can efficiently transport oligonucleotide drugs into cells

Therapeutic oligonucleotide analogs represent a new and promising family of drugs that act on nucleic acid targets such as RNA or DNA; however, their effectiveness has been limited due to difficulty crossing the cell membrane. [More]
Pancreatic cancer cells know a way to sidestep chemotherapy, reveal Fox Chase researchers

Pancreatic cancer cells know a way to sidestep chemotherapy, reveal Fox Chase researchers

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease. The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for 2014 show that over 46,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and more than 39,000 will die from it. Now, research led by Timothy J. Yen, PhD, Professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center, reveals that one reason this deadly form of cancer can be so challenging to treat is because its cells have found a way to sidestep chemotherapy. [More]
UCSD, UCSF launch new project to map cancer cells

UCSD, UCSF launch new project to map cancer cells

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco, with support from a diverse team of collaborators, have launched an ambitious new project - dubbed the Cancer Cell Map Initiative or CCMI - to determine how all of the components of a cancer cell interact. [More]

Techne’s new qPCR system offers greater accuracy and higher quality data

Bibby Scientific Ltd announced today thatTechne, a leading UK manufacturer of laboratory benchtop equipment, has launched its revolutionary new qPCR system, the Prime Pro 48. [More]
AstraZeneca announces research collaborations to use genome-editing tool for drug discovery and development

AstraZeneca announces research collaborations to use genome-editing tool for drug discovery and development

AstraZeneca today announced four research collaborations aimed at harnessing the power of CRISPR, a pioneering genome-editing technique, across its entire discovery platform in the company’s key therapeutic areas. [More]
Immunomic Therapeutics, Astellas Pharma sign license deal to develop LAMP-vax DNA vaccines

Immunomic Therapeutics, Astellas Pharma sign license deal to develop LAMP-vax DNA vaccines

Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. ("Immunomic Therapeutics"), a company developing next-generation vaccines based on the LAMP-vax platform, and Astellas Pharma Inc. ("Astellas") today announced they have entered into an exclusive license agreement for Japan to develop and commercialize JRC2-LAMP-vax, Immunomic Therapeutics' vaccine designed to treat allergies induced by Japanese red cedar pollen. [More]
Neuroscientists propose new strategy for brain evolution

Neuroscientists propose new strategy for brain evolution

Little animations trying to master a computer game are teaching neuroscience researchers how the brain evolves when faced with difficult tasks. [More]
EKF Molecular Diagnostics collaborates with ANGLE for liquid biopsy development using Parsortix and PointMan technologies

EKF Molecular Diagnostics collaborates with ANGLE for liquid biopsy development using Parsortix and PointMan technologies

EKF Molecular Diagnostics has agreed a collaboration with specialist medtech company ANGLE plc, to investigate the combination of ANGLE's Parsortix circulating tumour cell (CTC) harvesting platform with EKF Molecular's PointMan™ DNA enrichment technology as a liquid biopsy. If successful, the resulting simple blood test could enable the investigation of unexpected ultra-low level mutations in a patient's cancer for personalised cancer care. [More]
Park Systems announces innovations in bio cell analysis with the launch of Park NX-Bio

Park Systems announces innovations in bio cell analysis with the launch of Park NX-Bio

Park Systems, a leading manufacturer of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and nanoscale metrology products, proudly introduces Park NX-Bio, a powerful 3-in-1 bio-research tool that uniquely combines scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM) with AFM and an inverted optical microscope (IOM) on the same platform. [More]