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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.
91% of Americans know genetic information has important utility in managing health

91% of Americans know genetic information has important utility in managing health

23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, is celebrating National DNA Day by taking an in-depth look at what Americans know about their DNA and how genetics play a role in our everyday lives. The survey found that 91 percent of Americans know that their genetic information has important utility in managing their health. [More]

Personalis receives CAP accreditation

Personalis, Inc., a leading provider of genome-based diagnostics, announced today that its onsite clinical laboratory has received accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP), meeting the highest standard of excellence in clinical laboratory practices. [More]
Scientists develop DNA nanodevices that survive body's immune defenses

Scientists develop DNA nanodevices that survive body's immune defenses

It's a familiar trope in science fiction: In enemy territory, activate your cloaking device. And real-world viruses use similar tactics to make themselves invisible to the immune system. [More]

Research shows epigenetic changes contributed to human survival over other extinct species

In parallel with modern man (Homo sapiens), there were other, extinct types of humans with whom we lived side by side, such as Neanderthals and the recently discovered Denisovans of Siberia. Yet only Homo sapiens survived. What was it in our genetic makeup that gave us the advantage? [More]

Study: Added benefit of turoctocog alfa is not proven

Turoctocog alfa (trade name: NovoEight) has been approved since November 2013 for the prevention and treatment of bleeding in patients with haemophilia A. [More]

OGT releases new application note detailing performance of two DNA labelling kits

Oxford Gene Technology, The Molecular Genetics Company, has released a new application note detailing the technical evaluation of two DNA labelling kits, where OGT’s CytoSure Genomic DNA Labelling Kits were found to be quicker and more accurate than a leading alternative. [More]
New computational tool identifies undiagnosed illnesses and unknown gene mutations

New computational tool identifies undiagnosed illnesses and unknown gene mutations

A computational tool developed at the University of Utah (U of U) has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases, U of U researchers and their colleagues report in a new study in The American Journal of Human Genetics. [More]
University of Utah software successfully identifies diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases

University of Utah software successfully identifies diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases

A computational tool developed at the University of Utah (U of U) has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases, U of U researchers and their colleagues report in a new study in The American Journal of Human Genetics. The software, Phevor (Phenotype Driven Variant Ontological Re-ranking tool), identifies undiagnosed illnesses and unknown gene mutations by analyzing the exomes, or areas of DNA where proteins that code for genes are made, in individual patients and small families. [More]
OncoSec to present update of data from Phase 2 melanoma study at ASCO Annual Meeting

OncoSec to present update of data from Phase 2 melanoma study at ASCO Annual Meeting

OncoSec Medical Inc., a company developing its ImmunoPulse DNA-based immunotherapy to treat solid tumors, will present an update of data from their Phase 2 melanoma study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting, taking place May 30-June 3, 2014, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. [More]
Interleukin receives conditional approval to offer results of PerioPredict genetic risk test

Interleukin receives conditional approval to offer results of PerioPredict genetic risk test

Interleukin Genetics, Inc. today announced it has received conditional approval from the New York State Department of Health to offer, process and report the results of the PerioPredict™ Genetic Risk Test for periodontal disease. [More]

Study explains biological processes of malignant cancer cells

Cancer cells may be known for their uncontrollable growth and spread, but they also differ from normal tissue in another manner: how they produce energy. [More]
Researcher explores public perceptions related to newborn screening programs

Researcher explores public perceptions related to newborn screening programs

While 94 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would participate in public health programs that screen newborns for a specific number of genetic conditions, only 80 per cent said they would be willing to participate in screening that would sequence their newborns' genomes. [More]
SIRT1 protein necessary for telomere elongation and genome integrity during cell reprogramming

SIRT1 protein necessary for telomere elongation and genome integrity during cell reprogramming

Cell reprogramming converts specialised cells such as nerve cells or skin cells towards an embryonic stem cell state. This reversal in the evolutionary development of cells also requires a reversal in the biology of telomeres, the structures that protect the ends of chromosomes; whilst under normal conditions telomeres shorten over time, during cell reprogramming they follow the opposite strategy and increase in length. [More]

Researchers study evolution of harmful organisms from 1 bacterial family

For the first time, researchers have studied the Black Death bacterium's entire family tree to fully understand how some of the family members evolve to become harmful. [More]
Small gene embedded in large gene contributes to development of acute myeloid leukemia

Small gene embedded in large gene contributes to development of acute myeloid leukemia

A small gene that is embedded in a larger, well-known gene is the true leukemia-promoting force usually attributed to the larger gene, according to a new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James). [More]

Researchers unravel complex genetic coding that allows embryonic cells to proliferate, perform myriad biological tasks

Consider the marvel of the embryo. It begins as a glob of identical cells that change shape and function as they multiply to become the cells of our lungs, muscles, nerves and all the other specialized tissues of the body. [More]
Genmab/GSK receive FDA sBLA approval for Arzerra in combination with chlorambucil for treatment of CLL

Genmab/GSK receive FDA sBLA approval for Arzerra in combination with chlorambucil for treatment of CLL

GlaxoSmithKline plc and Genmab A/S announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a Supplemental Biologic License Application (sBLA) for the use of Arzerra® (ofatumumab), a CD20-directed cytolytic monoclonal antibody, in combination with chlorambucil for the treatment of previously untreated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) for whom fludarabine-based therapy is considered inappropriate. [More]
New device uses space-tested concept of capillary flow to diagnose infectious diseases

New device uses space-tested concept of capillary flow to diagnose infectious diseases

A new medical-testing device is being prepped to enter the battle against infectious disease. This instrument could improve diagnosis of certain diseases in remote areas, thanks in part to knowledge gained from a series of investigations aboard the International Space Station on the behavior of liquids. The device uses the space-tested concept of capillary flow to diagnose infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. [More]
U.Va. researchers named recipients of 2013 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards

U.Va. researchers named recipients of 2013 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards

University of Virginia neurologist Dr. Erin Pennock Foff, biologist Sarah Kucenas and biomedical engineer Shayn Peirce-Cotter have been named recipients of 2013 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards to benefit children of the United States. Each scientist will receive $100,000 in direct annual research support from The Hartwell Foundation for three years. [More]

Study sheds light on how extra chromosome 21 upsets equilibrium of entire genome in Down syndrome

Occurring in about one per eight hundred births, Down syndrome - or trisomy 21 - is the most frequent genetic cause of intellectual disability. It results from a chromosomal abnormality where cells of affected individuals contain a third copy of chromosome 21 (1% of the human genome). [More]