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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.
Genetic decanalization can lead to complex genetic diseases in humans

Genetic decanalization can lead to complex genetic diseases in humans

The information encoded in the DNA of an organism is not sufficient to determine the expression pattern of genes. This fact has been known even before the discovery of epigenetics, which refers to external modifications to the DNA that turn genes "on" or "off". [More]
NYU Langone reminds people about importance of screening and preventing colorectal cancer

NYU Langone reminds people about importance of screening and preventing colorectal cancer

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. However, according to Mark Pochapin, MD, the Sholtz/Leeds professor of Gastroenterology and director of the Division of Gastroenterology at NYU Langone Medical Center : "With early screening and prevention, this is one cancer that is highly curable and often preventable." [More]
Intrexon signs agreement to acquire Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Intrexon signs agreement to acquire Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Intrexon Corporation, a leader in synthetic biology, today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the pioneering agricultural company behind the Arctic apple, the world's first non-browning apple. [More]
KU Leuven researchers devise simple, effective solution to untangle DNA

KU Leuven researchers devise simple, effective solution to untangle DNA

Researchers have long sought an efficient way to untangle DNA in order to study its structure - neatly unraveled and straightened out - under a microscope. Now, chemists and engineers at KU Leuven, in Belgium, have devised a strikingly simple and effective solution: they inject genetic material into a droplet of water and use a pipet tip to drag it over a glass plate covered with a sticky polymer. [More]
New test can predict survival chances of women with breast cancer

New test can predict survival chances of women with breast cancer

Scientists have developed a new test which can predict the survival chances of women with breast cancer by analysing images of 'hotspots' where there has been a fierce immune reaction to a tumour. [More]
Genomics researchers discover novel gene variants in childhood CVID

Genomics researchers discover novel gene variants in childhood CVID

Genomics researchers analyzing a rare, serious immunodeficiency disease in children have discovered links to a gene crucial to the body's defense against infections. The finding may represent an inviting target for drugs to treat common variable immunodeficiency (CVID). [More]
Scientists identify novel gene that affects brain function

Scientists identify novel gene that affects brain function

U.S. and Australian scientists have found the mechanism a novel gene uses to affect brain function and elicit behavior related to neuropsychiatric disease. [More]
Scientists discover DNA vaccine that alleviates chronic inflammation in the body

Scientists discover DNA vaccine that alleviates chronic inflammation in the body

An international team of scientists including CureLab Oncology, Inc. (Boston), University of Camerino (Italy), and Boston University have serendipitously discovered a DNA vaccine, which systemically alleviates chronic inflammation in the body. Since osteoporosis is an inflammatory disease, preventive and therapeutic effects of the new vaccine were demonstrated on mouse models with osteoporosis. [More]
Researchers reveal how malaria parasite deploys genetic trickery to escape immune system attack

Researchers reveal how malaria parasite deploys genetic trickery to escape immune system attack

Up to one million people -- mainly pregnant woman and young children -- are killed each year by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes the most devastating form of human malaria. [More]
Beckman Coulter Genomics Introduces a Scalable RNA-seq service line for processing intact and degraded RNA samples

Beckman Coulter Genomics Introduces a Scalable RNA-seq service line for processing intact and degraded RNA samples

This fully automated sample preparation pipeline delivers consistent results run after run, reducing user variability and bias and allows processing of a large amount of samples with reduced turnaround time relative to manual library construction. [More]
New study identifies genetic link to peanut allergy

New study identifies genetic link to peanut allergy

Researchers have pinpointed a region in the human genome associated with peanut allergy in U.S. children, offering strong evidence that genes can play a role in the development of food allergies. [More]
Study: Gene variant linked to increased risk of vincristine-induced peripheral neuropathy in children

Study: Gene variant linked to increased risk of vincristine-induced peripheral neuropathy in children

Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who had a certain gene variant experienced a higher incidence and severity of peripheral neuropathy after receiving treatment with the cancer drug vincristine, according to a study in the February 24 issue of JAMA. [More]
Researchers find that new targeted drugs can attack weak spots in cancer cells

Researchers find that new targeted drugs can attack weak spots in cancer cells

Scientists have identified weak spots in cancer cells that could be targeted and attacked by new precision drugs. [More]
Changes to DNA sequence associated with peanut allergy

Changes to DNA sequence associated with peanut allergy

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that changes in a small region of chromosome 6 are risk factors for peanut allergy in U.S. children of European descent. The genetic risk area is located among two tightly linked genes that regulate the presentation of allergens and microbial products to the immune system. This study is the first to use a genome-wide screening approach in patients with well-defined food allergy to identify risks for peanut allergy. [More]
Serous ovarian cancer is more deadly, shows Cancer Research UK study

Serous ovarian cancer is more deadly, shows Cancer Research UK study

THE most common type of ovarian cancer is more deadly if it consists of a patchwork of different groups of cells, according to a Cancer Research UK study published today (Tuesday) in PLOS Medicine. [More]
Researchers identify first genetic variation linked to increased risk of peripheral neuropathy

Researchers identify first genetic variation linked to increased risk of peripheral neuropathy

Researchers have identified the first genetic variation that is associated with increased risk and severity of peripheral neuropathy following treatment with a widely used anti-cancer drug. Investigators also found evidence of how it may be possible to protect young leukemia patients without jeopardizing cures. [More]
Agena releases MassARRAY 24-Well System for mass spectrometry-based genetic testing

Agena releases MassARRAY 24-Well System for mass spectrometry-based genetic testing

Agena Bioscience today released the MassARRAY 24-Well System for mass spectrometry-based genetic analysis, adding to its existing MassARRAY portfolio. The new 24-well format is tailored to smaller clinical testing laboratories requiring modest sample throughput, reduced initial hardware costs, and reduced time to result. [More]
Epigenetics and women’s health research: an interview with Professor Steve Conlan, Swansea University

Epigenetics and women’s health research: an interview with Professor Steve Conlan, Swansea University

Our research into gynaecological oncology focuses around understanding mechanisms of how genes are regulated or how they become dysregulated in a disease; and also the effects that has on the surface of the endometrium and also the function of the ovaries... [More]
Epigenome plays significant part in embryonic development

Epigenome plays significant part in embryonic development

The early stages of embryonic development shape our cells and tissues for life. It is during this time that our newly formed cells are transformed into heart, skin, nerve or other cell types. Scientists are finding that this process is largely controlled not by the genome, but by the epigenome, chemical markers on DNA that tell cells when to turn genes on and off. [More]
MD Anderson researchers find way to predict patients who may respond to BRAF inhibitors

MD Anderson researchers find way to predict patients who may respond to BRAF inhibitors

Powerful drugs known as BRAF-inhibitors have been crucial for melanoma patients, saving lives through their ability to turn off the BRAF protein's power to spur cancer cell growth. [More]