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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.
New TSRI study offers surprising twist on how life began on Earth

New TSRI study offers surprising twist on how life began on Earth

A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) offers a twist on a popular theory for how life on Earth began about four billion years ago. [More]
Astronaut Kate Rubins transmits unique message to organizers of World Extreme Medicine Exposition

Astronaut Kate Rubins transmits unique message to organizers of World Extreme Medicine Exposition

Kate Rubins, one of three astronauts aboard the International Space Station, has transmitted a message of support to the organisers of the World Extreme Medicine Conference and Expo, which will be held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on Friday 18 to Monday 21 November. [More]
Professor David Goldstein appointed as chief adviser for AstraZeneca’s genomics initiative

Professor David Goldstein appointed as chief adviser for AstraZeneca’s genomics initiative

AstraZeneca today announced that Professor David Goldstein will join the Company in the consultative role of Chief Adviser, Genomics to lead its integrated genomics initiative, which was announced in April. [More]
Researchers discover how cells know when to stop producing mRNA

Researchers discover how cells know when to stop producing mRNA

A new scientific study conducted by a team of leading geneticists has characterized how cells know when to stop translating DNA into proteins, a critical step in maintaining healthy protein levels and cell function. [More]
Researchers discover how signals from infectious bacteria get to inflammasome sensors

Researchers discover how signals from infectious bacteria get to inflammasome sensors

Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered the way signals from infectious bacteria gain entry into the cytoplasm of host cells to activate disease-fighting inflammasomes. [More]
Imran Noorani receives Brainlab Community Neurosurgery Abstract Award at 2016 CNS annual meeting

Imran Noorani receives Brainlab Community Neurosurgery Abstract Award at 2016 CNS annual meeting

Imran Noorani MD, MRCS, of Cambridge, England, received the Brainlab Community Neurosurgery Abstract Award at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting in San Diego. [More]
UCLA research shows epigenetic clock predicts lifespan

UCLA research shows epigenetic clock predicts lifespan

Why do some people lead a perfectly healthy lifestyle yet still die young? A new international study suggests that the answer lies in our DNA. [More]
Scientists discover new switch that coordinates DNA repair and cell death

Scientists discover new switch that coordinates DNA repair and cell death

The genetic information of every cell is encoded in the sequence of the DNA double helix. Double strand breaks in the DNA, which can be induced by radiation, are a dangerous threat to the cells, and if not properly repaired can lead to cancer. [More]
Researchers aim to discover new treatments for triple-negative breast cancer

Researchers aim to discover new treatments for triple-negative breast cancer

The precision medicine approach involving DNA sequencing to pinpoint specific alterations that can be targeted with anti-cancer therapies is becoming an alternate treatment avenue for those with poor-responding cancers. [More]
Scientists identify molecule in liver cells that regulates release of fats into the bloodstream

Scientists identify molecule in liver cells that regulates release of fats into the bloodstream

ETH researchers have discovered a molecule in liver cells that controls the release of fat into the bloodstream. This "lock keeper" is present in large quantities in overweight people and leads indirectly to vascular narrowing. [More]
Super-resolution imaging of biological specimens: an interview with Dr. Manasa Gudheti

Super-resolution imaging of biological specimens: an interview with Dr. Manasa Gudheti

Traditional light microscopy techniques such as confocal and wide-field are diffraction-limited in resolution, which is about 200 nm laterally (in xy) and 500 to 600 nm axially (in z). Features that are closer than the diffraction limit will appear blurred in the image. [More]
MU researcher awarded $3 million NIH grant to develop new drugs for treating HBV

MU researcher awarded $3 million NIH grant to develop new drugs for treating HBV

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a viral infection that increases the likelihood of developing liver cancer or liver failure. [More]
Are migraines genetic? An interview with Nick Furlotte

Are migraines genetic? An interview with Nick Furlotte

There's a big debate right now in the migraine community around the underlying cause of the disease. The question is whether it is vascular, and has something to do with our vessels, or whether it has to do with our neurons not functioning correctly or misfiring. [More]
Approval of PD-1 inhibitor scratches surface of potential immunotherapies in recurrent HNSCC

Approval of PD-1 inhibitor scratches surface of potential immunotherapies in recurrent HNSCC

The recent approval of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) following progression on a platinum-based chemotherapy was a significant advancement for the disease. [More]
Salk scientist Clodagh O'Shea named recipient of grant from Faculty Scholars Program

Salk scientist Clodagh O'Shea named recipient of grant from Faculty Scholars Program

Clodagh O'Shea, an associate professor in the Salk Institute's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, is among the first recipients of a grant from the Faculty Scholars Program, a new partnership of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Simons Foundation for early career researchers whose work shows the potential for groundbreaking contributions in their fields. [More]
Veracyte announces new data suggesting ability of Afirma GEC in thyroid cancer diagnosis

Veracyte announces new data suggesting ability of Afirma GEC in thyroid cancer diagnosis

Veracyte, Inc.today announced new data suggesting the potential to enhance the performance of the Afirma Gene Expression Classifier in thyroid cancer diagnosis by combining the test's proven RNA expression-based capabilities with gene variant and fusion information – all on a single, robust RNA sequencing platform. [More]
Synthego introduces CRISPRevolution synthetic sgRNA kit for fast, high-throughput gene editing

Synthego introduces CRISPRevolution synthetic sgRNA kit for fast, high-throughput gene editing

Synthego, a leading provider of genome engineering solutions, today announces the world’s first synthetic single guide RNA (sgRNA) CRISPR genome editing kit. [More]
KAUST researchers develop biocompatible nanostructures for use in gene delivery

KAUST researchers develop biocompatible nanostructures for use in gene delivery

A tiny therapeutic delivery system that can control the body’s ability to manufacture proteins has been developed by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) researchers. [More]
New Chromatrap ChIP-validated antibodies now available for mammalian epigenetic research

New Chromatrap ChIP-validated antibodies now available for mammalian epigenetic research

Chromatrap announces that seven further popular antibodies have been validated for use in chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays by their UK-based research team. [More]
DNA damage caused by smoking may last a lifetime

DNA damage caused by smoking may last a lifetime

Results of a study published this week show that the effects of smoking on DNA are wide-reaching and some persist long after a person has stopped smoking. The information gained may help improve our understanding of smoking-related diseases. [More]
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