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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.
Scientists identify new protein that affects growth of secondary breast tumours in the brain

Scientists identify new protein that affects growth of secondary breast tumours in the brain

Scientists from the University of Leeds and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, have discovered a new protein which triggers the growth of blood vessels in breast cancer tumours which have spread to the brain, a common location which breast cancer can spread to. [More]
University of Georgia's Lynn Bailey leads international paper on folate biomarkers

University of Georgia's Lynn Bailey leads international paper on folate biomarkers

A University of Georgia researcher is lead author on an international paper on folate biomarkers as part of an initiative to provide evidence-based guidance for the global nutrition and public health community. [More]
UVA Health System opens high-tech clinical genomics lab

UVA Health System opens high-tech clinical genomics lab

The University of Virginia Health System has opened a high-tech clinical genomics lab that will personalize care for patients, help doctors determine the best treatments for cancers and other diseases, and allow UVA to offer the most cutting-edge clinical trials. [More]
Nuclea and Aelan partner to develop, commercialize novel biomarker tests using STEM cells as models

Nuclea and Aelan partner to develop, commercialize novel biomarker tests using STEM cells as models

Nuclea Biotechnologies Inc. announced today that it is partnering with Aelan Cell Technologies Inc. (San Francisco, California) for the development, validation and commercialization of novel biomarker tests and companion diagnostics using human STEM cells as models. [More]
Multiple courses of antibiotics may have significant impact on child development

Multiple courses of antibiotics may have significant impact on child development

A new animal study by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers adds to growing evidence that multiple courses of commonly used antibiotics may have a significant impact on children's development. [More]
dlDNA marks progression of HBV-related liver disease

dlDNA marks progression of HBV-related liver disease

The level of serum duplex-linear DNA increases markedly with liver disease progression and development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, suggests research published in Gut. [More]
Researchers explore why some mutations can cause severe disease in humans, but benign in animals

Researchers explore why some mutations can cause severe disease in humans, but benign in animals

Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School have identified a mechanism that explains why some mutations can be disease-causing in one genome but benign in another. [More]
Imperial College London researchers discover new inherited form of obesity, type 2 diabetes

Imperial College London researchers discover new inherited form of obesity, type 2 diabetes

Scientists have discovered a new inherited form of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans. A large number of genes are involved in regulating body weight, and there are now over 30 genes known in which people with harmful changes in DNA sequence become extremely overweight. Similarly, there are a number of genes that can, when altered, cause type 2 diabetes. These conditions are inherited through families in exactly the same way as disorders such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington's disease. [More]
Researchers identify better way to screen for lung cancer

Researchers identify better way to screen for lung cancer

The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ, is pleased to announce that two of its oncologists and a research scientist are helping pave the way to an easier, more accurate, less invasive way to screen for the most common form of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the most common cancer in men worldwide and the number one cancer killer in the United States. [More]
Scientists develop high-throughput strategy to build de novo genomes

Scientists develop high-throughput strategy to build de novo genomes

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have developed a new approach to build nearly complete genomes by combining high-throughput DNA sequencing with genome mapping. The methodology enabled researchers to detect complex forms of genomic variation, critically important for their association with human disease, but previously difficult to detect. [More]
Canada's first human gene therapy trial for choroideremia now underway at Royal Alexandra Hospital

Canada's first human gene therapy trial for choroideremia now underway at Royal Alexandra Hospital

Canada's first human gene therapy trial for eyes -- the replacement of a faulty gene with a healthy one -- is now underway at the Royal Alexandra Hospital to preserve and potentially restore vision for people with a genetic disorder that leaves them blind by middle age. [More]
Kay E. Davies named recipient of ASHG's 2015 William Allan Award

Kay E. Davies named recipient of ASHG's 2015 William Allan Award

The American Society of Human Genetics has named Kay E. Davies, DPhil, Dr. Lee's professor of anatomy, associate head of the medical sciences division; and director of the Medical Research Council Functional Genomics Unit in the department of physiology, anatomy and genetics at the University of Oxford, the 2015 recipient of the annual William Allan Award. [More]
Study may lead to better treatments for children with neuroblastoma

Study may lead to better treatments for children with neuroblastoma

Researchers studying the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma have detailed how cancer-driving mutations evolve during chemotherapy, and they hope to exploit this knowledge to design better treatments for children. [More]
PharmaMar begins PM1183 phase III study in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer

PharmaMar begins PM1183 phase III study in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer

PharmaMar announced today the start of a phase III study for the anticancer agent PM1183 in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer (PROC). Once study objectives are met, the CORAIL trial (NCT02421588) will be used to support the regulatory filing of PM1183 as treatment for this indication. [More]
Global GBM therapeutics market to expand at CAGR of 10.9% to $623 million by 2020

Global GBM therapeutics market to expand at CAGR of 10.9% to $623 million by 2020

According to analysis from business intelligence provider GBI Research - Glioblastoma Multiforme Therapeutics in Major Developed Markets to 2020 - the value of the global Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) treatment market will expand at a rapid Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.9%, from $301 million in 2013 to $623 million by 2020. [More]
NGS technology helps identify new mitochondrial disease gene

NGS technology helps identify new mitochondrial disease gene

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology offers an incredible opportunity for the rapid and relatively low-cost characterization of individual genomes, giving us a chance to make a substantial leap ahead in the molecular dissection of all mitochondrial disorders in humans. [More]
New 2015 Rettsyndrome.org awards announced

New 2015 Rettsyndrome.org awards announced

Rettsyndrome.org announces today that the Board of Trustees has awarded $1M to launch the Read-Through Program, further translational research in the area of Neuro-Habilitation, and fund clinical research. [More]
NIDA announces recipients of Avenir Award programs for HIV/AIDS, genetics or epigenetics research

NIDA announces recipients of Avenir Award programs for HIV/AIDS, genetics or epigenetics research

The National Institute on Drug Abuse today announced the first six recipients of its two newly developed Avenir Award programs for HIV/AIDS and genetics or epigenetics research. The Avenir (meaning "future" in French) Awards support early stage investigators who propose highly innovative studies. The six scientists will each receive up to $300,000 per year for five years to support their research. [More]
The Mary Kay Foundation awards $1.3 million grant to advance cancer research and discovery

The Mary Kay Foundation awards $1.3 million grant to advance cancer research and discovery

With more than 800,000 new cases of cancer among women in the United States expected this year, according to the American Cancer Society, almost everyone is touched by the disease. [More]
Newcastle University scientists document action spectrum of ultraviolet damage in skin cells

Newcastle University scientists document action spectrum of ultraviolet damage in skin cells

Scientists at Newcastle University have documented for the first time the DNA damage which can occur to skin across the full range of ultraviolet radiation from the sun providing an invaluable tool for sun-protection and the manufacturers of sunscreen. [More]
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