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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.
Chromatrap announce solid state ChIP kits

Chromatrap announce solid state ChIP kits

Chromatrap®, a business unit of Porvair Sciences, has an announced solid state ChIP kits which rapidly improve chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) through a unique patented technology that streamlines the process, ensuring chromatin preparation to qPCR analysis can be performed in under five hours. [More]
Modelling the biological mesoscale: an interview with Professor Art Olson

Modelling the biological mesoscale: an interview with Professor Art Olson

The biological mesoscale range includes biological structures that range from 10 to 100 nanometers (billionths of a meter). Structures in this size range include viruses, cellular organelles, large molecular complexes, and any other internal cellular environments within that range. [More]
Researchers gain new insight into fragile X syndrome

Researchers gain new insight into fragile X syndrome

Scientists have gained new insight into fragile X syndrome -- the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability -- by studying the case of a person without the disorder, but with two of its classic symptoms. [More]
Researchers uncover new gene tied to incurable eye disorder

Researchers uncover new gene tied to incurable eye disorder

An exhaustive hereditary analysis of a large Louisiana family with vision issues has uncovered a new gene tied to an incurable eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa, according to an examination led by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. [More]
Better Eyes for Longer Life without Alzheimer's research project opens to everyone

Better Eyes for Longer Life without Alzheimer's research project opens to everyone

The Alzheimer's Association puts a fine point on the truism that the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or some other form of cognitive impairment increases with age: (They expect that) 7 million of those who reach 85 by 2050 will have Alzheimer's disease (AD). [More]
Advanced techniques may lead to screening tool for early detection of autism in children

Advanced techniques may lead to screening tool for early detection of autism in children

Autism is a spectrum of closely related disorders diagnosed in patients who exhibit a shared core of symptoms, including delays in learning to communicate and interact socially. Early detection of autism in children is the key for treatments to be most effective and produce the best outcomes. [More]
TSRI scientists identify novel synthetic compound that reduces activity of a cancer-related protein

TSRI scientists identify novel synthetic compound that reduces activity of a cancer-related protein

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a novel synthetic compound that sharply inhibits the activity of a protein that plays an important role in in the progression of breast and pancreatic cancers. [More]
Major investment boosts Scotland's gene research

Major investment boosts Scotland's gene research

A major investment in gene sequencing technology will secure Scotland's place as a world leader in a genomics revolution that is set to transform healthcare. [More]
Sophia Genetics obtains CE-IVD marking for BRCA1/2 testing solution

Sophia Genetics obtains CE-IVD marking for BRCA1/2 testing solution

Sophia Genetics, the European leader in Data Driven Medicine, has today obtained CE-IVD marking for its solution to detect BRCA1/2 associated genetic variants in live tumours. [More]
New article discusses role of cytokines in breast cancer development, progression

New article discusses role of cytokines in breast cancer development, progression

Emerging data on the role of inflammation and the immune system in the development, growth, and spread of breast tumors have focused increased attention on the role cytokines such as interleukin and transforming growth factor-β play in breast cancer initiation, protection, and metastasis. [More]
Intrexon and ZIOPHARM Oncology sign exclusive licensing agreement with MD Anderson

Intrexon and ZIOPHARM Oncology sign exclusive licensing agreement with MD Anderson

Intrexon Corporation, a leader in synthetic biology and its oncology partner, ZIOPHARM Oncology, today announced a broad exclusive licensing agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, including an exclusive sublicensing agreement through MD Anderson for intellectual property developed at the University of Minnesota for the development of non-viral adoptive cellular cancer immunotherapies. [More]
Beckman Coulter Genomics announces CAP accreditation

Beckman Coulter Genomics announces CAP accreditation

Beckman Coulter Genomics, a leading provider of DNA Sequencing Services announces today accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). [More]
QIAGEN's circulating tumor DNA test CE-IVD marked to assess genomic mutation NSCLC patients

QIAGEN's circulating tumor DNA test CE-IVD marked to assess genomic mutation NSCLC patients

QIAGEN announced today the CE-IVD marking of its novel liquid biopsy-based companion diagnostic that analyzes circulating nucleic acids obtained from blood samples to assess an important genomic mutation in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common form of this cancer. [More]
Virginia Tech scientists plan to design virus to switch wound-healing drug into cancer fighter

Virginia Tech scientists plan to design virus to switch wound-healing drug into cancer fighter

At the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, three scientists are planning to create a virus capable of destroying brain cancer. [More]
Radon linked to lung cancer risk in nonsmokers

Radon linked to lung cancer risk in nonsmokers

Each year, radon kills more people than home fires, drowning, falls or drunk driving. It is the number one cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, taking some 21,000 lives annually. [More]
Two medical organizations recommend use of HPV test for cervical cancer screening

Two medical organizations recommend use of HPV test for cervical cancer screening

Two leading medical organizations say that using a Human papillomavirus (HPV) test alone for cervical cancer screening is an effective alternative to the current recommendation for screening with either cytology (the Pap test) alone or co-testing with cytology and HPV testing. [More]
Biogen Idec, Columbia University Medical Center form $30 million genomics research alliance

Biogen Idec, Columbia University Medical Center form $30 million genomics research alliance

Biogen Idec and Columbia University Medical Center have formed a $30 million strategic alliance to conduct genetics discovery research on the underlying causes of disease and to identify new treatment approaches. As part of this agreement, a sequencing and analysis facility and shared postdoctoral program will be established at Columbia to support collaborative genetics studies. [More]
New UCLA study sheds light on why some people develop PTSD

New UCLA study sheds light on why some people develop PTSD

Why do some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while others who suffered the same ordeal do not? A new UCLA discovery may shed light on the answer. [More]
Two leading biotechnology companies collaborate to gain further understanding of Parkinson’s disease

Two leading biotechnology companies collaborate to gain further understanding of Parkinson’s disease

This week 23andMe (a genetic testing company) and Genentech (medical research company of the Roche Group) agreed a collaboration to undertake whole genome sequencing for 3,000 patients with Parkinson’s disease. The genetic information will be collected by 23andMe and used by Genentech to identify new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease. [More]
DiaCarta raises $8 million in Series A financing from BVCF

DiaCarta raises $8 million in Series A financing from BVCF

DiaCarta, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company raised $8 million in Series A financing from BVCF (BioVeda China Fund). Proceeds from Series A financing will be used to expand the product portfolio and support global commercialization. Dr. Weixin Xu of BVCF will join DiaCarta board of directors. [More]