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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.
Study: Inactivating polymorphism may influence progression of ovarian and luminal breast cancer

Study: Inactivating polymorphism may influence progression of ovarian and luminal breast cancer

A common polymorphism - a variation in a person's DNA sequence that is found with regularity in the general population - can lead to a chain of events that dictates how a tumor will progress in certain types of cancer, including a form of breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer, according to new research from The Wistar Institute that was published online by the journal Cancer Cell. [More]
SLU investigators find promising candidates for new herpes virus treatments

SLU investigators find promising candidates for new herpes virus treatments

Saint Louis University research findings published in the December issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy report a family of molecules known as nucleotidyltransferase superfamily (NTS) enzyme inhibitors are promising candidates for new herpes virus treatments. [More]
Study reveals why older people are at increased risk for developing cancer

Study reveals why older people are at increased risk for developing cancer

Why are older people at higher risk for developing cancer? Prevailing opinion holds that, over time, your body's cells accumulate DNA damage and that eventually this damage catches up with the body in a way that causes cancer. [More]
Endogenous retroviruses also play critical role in the body's immune defense against pathogens

Endogenous retroviruses also play critical role in the body's immune defense against pathogens

Retroviruses are best known for causing contagious scourges such as AIDS, or more sporadically, cancer. [More]
Scientists develop new system for studying how proteins, other biological molecules unfold and refold

Scientists develop new system for studying how proteins, other biological molecules unfold and refold

Collaborating scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and the University of California San Diego have developed a powerful new system for studying how proteins and other biological molecules form and lose their natural folded structures. [More]
TUM researchers discover new mechanism for regulating programmed cell death

TUM researchers discover new mechanism for regulating programmed cell death

Programmed cell death is a mechanism that causes defective and potentially harmful cells to destroy themselves. It serves a number of purposes in the body, including the prevention of malignant tumor growth. Now, researchers at Technische Universität München have discovered a previously unknown mechanism for regulating programmed cell death. [More]
Inovio begins hTERT DNA immunotherapy trial in adults with breast, lung and pancreatic cancer

Inovio begins hTERT DNA immunotherapy trial in adults with breast, lung and pancreatic cancer

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced it has initiated a phase I trial of its hTERT DNA immunotherapy (INO-1400) alone or in combination with Inovio's IL-12 immune activator (INO-9012) in adults with breast, lung, or pancreatic cancer at high risk of relapse after surgery and other cancer treatments. [More]
Broccoli can help reduce HGPS-related defects

Broccoli can help reduce HGPS-related defects

Children who suffer from Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome age prematurely due to a defective protein in their cells. Scientists at Technische Universität München have now identified another important pathological factor: the system responsible for removing cellular debris and for breaking down defective proteins operates at lower levels in HGPS cells than in normal cells. The researchers have succeeded in reactivating protein breakdown in HGPS cells and thus reducing disease-related defects by using a substance from broccoli. [More]
Two orphan receptor proteins exert fatal double whammy effect against glioblastoma cells

Two orphan receptor proteins exert fatal double whammy effect against glioblastoma cells

Two related proteins exert a lethal double whammy effect against glioblastoma cells when activated with a small molecule, say researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. [More]
Eight researchers to receive 2015 Leibniz Prize

Eight researchers to receive 2015 Leibniz Prize

The new recipients of Germany's most prestigious research funding prize have been announced. In Bonn today, the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) decided to award the 2015 Leibniz Prize to eight researchers. [More]
Tel Aviv University study throws spotlight on gene mutation responsible for premature ovarian failure

Tel Aviv University study throws spotlight on gene mutation responsible for premature ovarian failure

Premature ovarian failure, also known as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), affects 1% of all women worldwide. In most cases, the exact cause of the condition, which is often associated with infertility, is difficult to determine. [More]
Two UH researchers named fellows of National Academy of Inventors

Two UH researchers named fellows of National Academy of Inventors

Two University of Houston faculty members have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors for their contributions to scientific and technological innovation. [More]
Mitochondrial DNA may predict overall risk of frailty, death

Mitochondrial DNA may predict overall risk of frailty, death

New research from The Johns Hopkins University suggests that the amount of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) found in peoples’ blood directly relates to how frail they are medically. This DNA may prove to be a useful predictor of overall risk of frailty and death from any cause 10 to 15 years before symptoms appear. [More]
New study shows that people may inherit intestinal bacteria that cause inflammatory bowel disease

New study shows that people may inherit intestinal bacteria that cause inflammatory bowel disease

A new study by an international team of researchers shows for the first time that people may inherit some of the intestinal bacteria that cause Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively know as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study, recently published in Genome Medicine, also confirmed that antibiotics could worsen the imbalance in the gut microbes. [More]
Scientists demonstrate technique for editing genome in sperm-producing adult stem cells

Scientists demonstrate technique for editing genome in sperm-producing adult stem cells

Scientists at Indiana University and colleagues at Stanford and the University of Texas have demonstrated a technique for "editing" the genome in sperm-producing adult stem cells, a result with powerful potential for basic research and for gene therapy. [More]
Roche announces launch of cobas Liat System for on-demand testing in different settings

Roche announces launch of cobas Liat System for on-demand testing in different settings

Roche today announced the launch of the cobas Liat System—a fast, compact , easy to use, molecular diagnostic platform, designed for on-demand testing in physician clinics, pharmacies and hospital lab settings. [More]
New MIT study implicates RNA-binding proteins in regulation of cancer

New MIT study implicates RNA-binding proteins in regulation of cancer

A new study from MIT implicates a family of RNA-binding proteins in the regulation of cancer, particularly in a subtype of breast cancer. These proteins, known as Musashi proteins, can force cells into a state associated with increased proliferation. [More]
Sophia Genetics earns ISO 13485 and ISO 27001 certification for safe data handling and security

Sophia Genetics earns ISO 13485 and ISO 27001 certification for safe data handling and security

Sophia Genetics, the European leader in Clinical Genomics and Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS), has become the first company to achieve both ISO 13485 and ISO 27001 certification for its commitment to safe data handling and security. [More]
FL118 agent shows efficacy as personalized, targeted therapy for certain cancer tumors

FL118 agent shows efficacy as personalized, targeted therapy for certain cancer tumors

A team led by Fengzhi Li, PhD, and Xinjiang Wang, PhD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute has reported new findings regarding therapeutic targets of the novel anticancer agent FL118. Previous studies from these researchers have showed that FL118 induces cancer cell death, or apoptosis, by inhibiting expression of multiple cell-survival proteins (survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP or cIAP2). [More]
Environmental factors influence how genetic variants affect the brain, behaviour

Environmental factors influence how genetic variants affect the brain, behaviour

Both positive and negative experiences influence how genetic variants affect the brain and thereby behaviour, according to a new study. "Evidence is accumulating to show that the effects of variants of many genes that are common in the population depend on environmental factors. [More]