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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.
Scientists reveal how a common gene mutation in ALS and FTD disrupts normal cell function

Scientists reveal how a common gene mutation in ALS and FTD disrupts normal cell function

Researchers have determined how the most common gene mutation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) disrupts normal cell function, providing insight likely to advance efforts to develop targeted therapies for these brain diseases. [More]
GOSH to improve rare disease diagnosis with adoption of Congenica’s Sapientia technology

GOSH to improve rare disease diagnosis with adoption of Congenica’s Sapientia technology

Ian was ‘a clumsy child’. He kept bumping into objects and couldn’t see well in the dark. He endured 15 years of tests and misdiagnoses during a lengthy, and sometimes traumatic, diagnostic odyssey. [More]
Variations in opioid receptor genes linked to neonatal abstinence syndrome severity in newborn babies

Variations in opioid receptor genes linked to neonatal abstinence syndrome severity in newborn babies

A new study led by researchers at Boston Medical Center indicates that variations in opioid receptor genes are associated with more severe neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in newborn babies. The findings, published online in Drug & Alcohol Dependence, could help lead to the development of individualized treatment plans tailored to each infants' risk of requiring medication to curb their NAS symptoms, which could help improve these patients' outcomes and reduce how long some stay in the hospital. [More]
Persistent leukemia-associated genetic mutations linked to increased risk of relapse, reduced overall survival

Persistent leukemia-associated genetic mutations linked to increased risk of relapse, reduced overall survival

In preliminary research, the detection of persistent leukemia-associated genetic mutations in at least 5 percent of bone marrow cells in day 30 remission samples among adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia was associated with an increased risk of relapse and reduced overall survival, according to a study in the August 25 issue of JAMA. [More]
Sequenom, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center collaborate to explore utility of liquid biopsy assay

Sequenom, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center collaborate to explore utility of liquid biopsy assay

Sequenom, Inc., a life sciences company committed to enabling healthier lives through the development of innovative products and services, today announced that it has entered into a clinical research collaboration with the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center. [More]
Study reveals potential health risks associated with burning of incense in indoor environments

Study reveals potential health risks associated with burning of incense in indoor environments

The burning of incense might need to come with a health warning. This follows the first study evaluating the health risks associated with its indoor use. The effects of incense and cigarette smoke were also compared, and made for some surprising results. The research was led by Rong Zhou of the South China University of Technology and the China Tobacco Guangdong Industrial Company in China, and is published in Springer's journal Environmental Chemistry Letters. [More]
Dr. Sharma receives research award from ASCO to continue study on triple-negative breast cancer

Dr. Sharma receives research award from ASCO to continue study on triple-negative breast cancer

Dr. Sharma was awarded the 2015 Advanced Clinical Research Award in Breast Cancer from the American Society of Clinical Oncology to continue her research on triple-negative breast cancer. [More]
FSU investigator solves cell division mystery

FSU investigator solves cell division mystery

In the second part of his lab's recent one-two punch, Florida State University researcher Daniel Kaplan said he has solved a cell division mystery in a way that will intrigue the makers of cancer-fighting drugs. [More]
Researchers awarded $6.4 million grant to identify causes of neurodevelopmental disorders in children with CHDs

Researchers awarded $6.4 million grant to identify causes of neurodevelopmental disorders in children with CHDs

As advances in medicine are giving rise to growing numbers of children who are surviving severe heart defects, a phenomenon is emerging that is catching parents and healthcare providers off-guard. Over half of these children also have a seemingly unrelated disability: neurodevelopmental disorders. Some have severe cognitive and motor deficits that arise early. [More]
Gene delivery services expanded for adeno-associated virus

Gene delivery services expanded for adeno-associated virus

AMSBIO has introduced an expanded range of Adeno-associated virus (AAV) cloning and packaging services. [More]
Benitec Biopharma announces closing of U.S. initial public offering of ADSs

Benitec Biopharma announces closing of U.S. initial public offering of ADSs

Benitec Biopharma Limited, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, is pleased to announce the closing of its U.S. initial public offering of 1,500,000 American Depositary Shares (ADSs), representing 30,000,000 fully paid ordinary shares of Benitec, together with warrants to purchase 500,000 ADSs, representing 10,000,000 fully paid ordinary shares. [More]
Understanding the causes of sudden death in epilepsy: an interview with Professor Sanjay Sisodiya

Understanding the causes of sudden death in epilepsy: an interview with Professor Sanjay Sisodiya

SUDEP is the sudden unexpected witnessed or unwitnessed, non-traumatic and non-drowning death in people with epilepsy, with or without evidence of a seizure. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the known context of a seizure, excluding documented status epilepticus, where people have seizure after seizure. [More]
New study shows partial genetic basis underlying racial differences in slow-wave sleep

New study shows partial genetic basis underlying racial differences in slow-wave sleep

A new study clearly establishes a partial genetic basis underlying racial differences in slow-wave sleep, suggesting that it may be possible to develop sleep-related therapies that target specific genetic variants. [More]
MIPT scientists reveal that weak gamma radiation doses prolong life of female fruit flies

MIPT scientists reveal that weak gamma radiation doses prolong life of female fruit flies

Scientists at MIPT have revealed that weak doses of gamma radiation prolong the life of drosophila flies (fruit flies), and that the effect is stronger in females than in males. These findings could reveal the genes that enable the prolongation of life and in the future lead to the creation of a means to prevent aging in humans. [More]
New ASU-POSTECH collaboration aims to discover biological molecules for health care, renewable energy research

New ASU-POSTECH collaboration aims to discover biological molecules for health care, renewable energy research

The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang, South Korea, have announced a partnership that will catalyze discoveries with a major impact on health care and clean energy applications. [More]
Alpha lipoic acid can stimulate telomerase with positive effects in mouse model of atherosclerosis

Alpha lipoic acid can stimulate telomerase with positive effects in mouse model of atherosclerosis

In human cells, shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, are both a sign of aging and contribute to it. Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found that the dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can stimulate telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, with positive effects in a mouse model of atherosclerosis. [More]
UC Davis researchers reveal how four proteins come together to help assemble tubulin

UC Davis researchers reveal how four proteins come together to help assemble tubulin

When they think about how cells put together the molecules that make life work, biologists have tended to think of assembly lines: Add A to B, tack on C, and so on. But the reality might be more like a molecular version of a 3-D printer, where a single mechanism assembles the molecule in one go. [More]
Novel synthetic DNA vaccine induces protective immunity against MERS virus in animal study

Novel synthetic DNA vaccine induces protective immunity against MERS virus in animal study

A novel synthetic DNA vaccine can, for the first time, induce protective immunity against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in animal species, reported researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. [More]
New set of genes can indicate improved survival after surgery for pancreatic cancer patients

New set of genes can indicate improved survival after surgery for pancreatic cancer patients

A study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute and other major research institutes, found a new set of genes that can indicate improved survival after surgery for patients with pancreatic cancer. The study also showed that detection of circulating tumor DNA in the blood could provide an early indication of tumor recurrence. [More]
Potential biomarker could help prevent pre-diabetic individuals from developing Type II diabetes

Potential biomarker could help prevent pre-diabetic individuals from developing Type II diabetes

Virginia Tech researchers have identified a biomarker in pre-diabetic individuals that could help prevent them from developing Type II diabetes. [More]
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