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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.
RNA-binding protein ROQUIN regulates response to DNA damage

RNA-binding protein ROQUIN regulates response to DNA damage

Messenger (mRNA) molecules are a key component of protein biosynthesis. They are first transcribed as a "working copy" of the DNA and then translated into protein molecules. [More]
Researchers uncover strong evidence for genetic causes of cerebral palsy

Researchers uncover strong evidence for genetic causes of cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of physical disability in children. It has historically been considered to be caused by factors such as birth asphyxia, stroke and infections in the developing brain of babies. [More]
Animal study shows children exposed to famine grow smaller, become susceptible to metabolic diseases

Animal study shows children exposed to famine grow smaller, become susceptible to metabolic diseases

Starvation early in life can alter an organism for generations to come, according to a new study in roundworms. The effects are what Duke University biologist Ryan Baugh terms a "bet-hedging strategy." [More]
Environmental factors promote genetic mutations, have underappreciated effect on disease, evolution

Environmental factors promote genetic mutations, have underappreciated effect on disease, evolution

Washington State University researchers say environmental factors are having an underappreciated effect on the course of disease and evolution by prompting genetic mutations through epigenetics, a process by which genes are turned on and off independent of an organism's DNA sequence. [More]
BRCA gene mutations and ovarian cancer: an interview with Dr Matulonis, Harvard Medical School

BRCA gene mutations and ovarian cancer: an interview with Dr Matulonis, Harvard Medical School

The BRCA gene encodes for the BRCA proteins, BRCA1 and BRCA2. These proteins are very important in repairing DNA, which they do by correcting double-stranded breaks. [More]
FDA accepts Mundipharma EDO's Investigational New Drug Application for EDO-S101

FDA accepts Mundipharma EDO's Investigational New Drug Application for EDO-S101

Mundipharma EDO GmbH (Early Development in Oncology) is pleased to announce that the United States Food and Drug Administration has accepted the company's Investigational New Drug Application ("IND") for EDO-S101, a fusion molecule to treat relapsed/refractory haematologic malignancies and solid tumours. [More]
Reducing incorrect gene expression can extend lifespan of cells

Reducing incorrect gene expression can extend lifespan of cells

Working with yeast and worms, researchers found that incorrect gene expression is a hallmark of aged cells and that reducing such "noise" extends lifespan in these organisms. The team published their findings this month in Genes & Development. [More]
U.S. Navy leads government category in annual ranking of patent portfolios

U.S. Navy leads government category in annual ranking of patent portfolios

Predicting the risk of pirate attacks on vital shipping lanes could soon be easier, thanks to a data system that's just one of 364 technologies patented by the U.S. Navy (DoN) in 2014. [More]
Researchers uncover new mechanism that p53 protein uses to trigger cell death

Researchers uncover new mechanism that p53 protein uses to trigger cell death

Researchers have identified a new mechanism that the tumor suppressor protein p53 uses to trigger cell death via apoptosis and have shown how the process could be harnessed to kill cancer cells. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists led the study, which appears today in the scientific journal Molecular Cell. [More]
DNA study reveals potential treatments to delay or prevent onset of Huntington's disease

DNA study reveals potential treatments to delay or prevent onset of Huntington's disease

Scientists from Cardiff University believe that a treatment to prevent or delay the symptoms of Huntington’s disease could now be much closer, following a major breakthrough. [More]
Patients with HPV traces post-treatment more likely to have oropharyngeal cancer recurrence

Patients with HPV traces post-treatment more likely to have oropharyngeal cancer recurrence

Oropharyngeal cancer patients who were found to have detectable traces of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) in their saliva following cancer treatment are at an increased risk for recurrence, a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found. [More]
Tissue Regenix strengthens position in post-acute wound care market with Medicare coverage for Dermapure

Tissue Regenix strengthens position in post-acute wound care market with Medicare coverage for Dermapure

Tissue Regenix Group, the regenerative medical devices company, announces that it has further strengthened its position within the post-acute wound care market as Tissue Regenix Wound Care Inc. has received further approval for DermaPure under Medicare administrator, First Coast Service Options Inc. whose jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. [More]
Detailed molecular analyses reveal new treatment options for aggressive childhood leukemia

Detailed molecular analyses reveal new treatment options for aggressive childhood leukemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children. It can occur in various forms, differing not only by specific changes in the genetic material of the leukemia cells but also by their response to therapies. Now, an international team of scientists from Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hannover, Heidelberg, Kiel, and Zurich have succeeded in decoding the molecular characteristics of an as yet incurable subtype of leukemia, paving the way for new therapeutic approaches. [More]
Study shows how genetic changes lead to differences in form and function of species

Study shows how genetic changes lead to differences in form and function of species

Ten thousand years ago, a golden grain got naked, brought people together and grew to become one of the top agricultural commodities on the planet. [More]
UIC, Northwestern University researchers create first artificial ribosome

UIC, Northwestern University researchers create first artificial ribosome

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell. The engineered ribosome may enable the production of new drugs and next-generation biomaterials and lead to a better understanding of how ribosomes function. [More]
Protecting gastrointestinal system during radiation or chemotherapy allows patients to tolerate cancer treatments

Protecting gastrointestinal system during radiation or chemotherapy allows patients to tolerate cancer treatments

The stem cells in our gut divide so fast that they create a completely new population of epithelial cells every week. But this quick division is also why radiation and chemotherapy wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal systems of cancer patients - such therapies target rapidly dividing cells. [More]
Discovery paves way for new therapeutic approaches to treat fatal leukemia in children

Discovery paves way for new therapeutic approaches to treat fatal leukemia in children

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children. It can occur in various forms, differing not only by specific changes in the genetic material of the leukemia cells but also by their response to therapies. [More]
TGen scientist named a recipient of 2015 Bisgrove Scholars award

TGen scientist named a recipient of 2015 Bisgrove Scholars award

Dr. Candace Lewis, a research scientist at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, is one of five recipients of the 2015 Bisgrove Scholars award, Science Foundation Arizona announced today. [More]
Radiation from solar events too weak to cause birth defects down on Earth's surface

Radiation from solar events too weak to cause birth defects down on Earth's surface

Studies find airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays. [More]
Point-of-care diagnostics for Ebola

Point-of-care diagnostics for Ebola

In a recent DECODED research profile, Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT), details how IDT scientists Kristin Beltz and Dr Scott Rose are collaborating with Dr Brian Taylor’s research team at Battelle (Aberdeen, MD, USA) to design and validate a RT-qPCR assay that can detect the Ebola virus in the field. [More]
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