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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 attempts to link sun exposure and low vitamin D levels with increased death rate

Study attempts to link sun exposure and low vitamin D levels with increased death rate

Recently, a study in the Journal of Internal Medicine suggested that women who avoid sun exposure are twice as likely to die as compared to those who receive sun exposure. [More]
Encapsula releases 2 new liposome based products

Encapsula releases 2 new liposome based products

Encapsula NanoSciences announces the release of two new liposome ­based products; Curcusome® and Taurosome™. Curcusome® or liposomal curcumin is a nutraceutical supplement that comes innovatively packaged in a powder ­release cap for consumer ease. [More]
Investigators identify gene that underlies devastating autoinflammatory condition in children

Investigators identify gene that underlies devastating autoinflammatory condition in children

Investigators have identified a gene that underlies a very rare but devastating autoinflammatory condition in children. Several existing drugs have shown therapeutic potential in laboratory studies, and one is currently being studied in children with the disease, which the researchers named STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI). [More]
Thirteen scientists receive grant to identify new treatments, cure for psoriasis

Thirteen scientists receive grant to identify new treatments, cure for psoriasis

Thirteen scientists received a total of $1.05 million in funding from the National Psoriasis Foundation for projects that aim to identify new treatments and a cure for psoriasis—an autoimmune disease that appears on the skin, affecting 7.5 million Americans—and psoriatic arthritis—an inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints and tendons, occurring in up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis. [More]
Chemoprevention and colon cancer: an interview with Dr. John Letterio, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Chemoprevention and colon cancer: an interview with Dr. John Letterio, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

The basic idea of cancer chemopre­vention is to arrest or reverse the progression of pre­malignant cells towards full malignancy, using physiological mechanisms that do not kill healthy cells. [More]
Study of cancer radiation therapy shows that DNA building blocks are susceptible to fragmentation

Study of cancer radiation therapy shows that DNA building blocks are susceptible to fragmentation

A new study relevant for cancer radiation therapy shows that DNA building blocks are susceptible to fragmentation. Scientists now have a better understanding of how short DNA strands decompose in microseconds [More]
Scientists examine part of sample consisting of non-human DNA

Scientists examine part of sample consisting of non-human DNA

Much of what we know about Oetzi - for example what he looked like or that he suffered from lactose intolerance - stems from a tiny bone sample which allowed the decoding of his genetic make-up. [More]
Study finds that friends who are not biologically related still resemble each other genetically

Study finds that friends who are not biologically related still resemble each other genetically

If you consider your friends family, you may be on to something. A study from the University of California, San Diego, and Yale University finds that friends who are not biologically related still resemble each other genetically. [More]
New femtosecond infrared light source helps to directly visualize hydrogen-bonded molecules

New femtosecond infrared light source helps to directly visualize hydrogen-bonded molecules

Using a newly developed, ultrafast femtosecond infrared light source, chemists at the University of Chicago have been able to directly visualize the coordinated vibrations between hydrogen-bonded molecules -- the first time this sort of chemical interaction, which is found in nature everywhere at the molecular level, has been directly visualized. [More]
Prostate cancer more likely to be aggressive in younger men

Prostate cancer more likely to be aggressive in younger men

The number of younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased nearly 6-fold in the last 20 years, and the disease is more likely to be aggressive in these younger men, according to a new analysis from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. [More]
Mount Sinai awarded AHA grant to prevent heart disease among NYC children and parents

Mount Sinai awarded AHA grant to prevent heart disease among NYC children and parents

Mount Sinai Heart at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has been awarded a $3.8 million grant by the American Heart Association to promote cardiovascular health among high-risk New York City children, and their parents, living in Harlem and the Bronx. With assistance from the NYC Administration for Children's Services, the research team's mission is to reduce each child's future risk of obesity, heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. [More]
New study reveals how genetic defect may make people more susceptible to developing melanoma

New study reveals how genetic defect may make people more susceptible to developing melanoma

A new study by University of Kentucky researchers shows how a genetic defect in a specific hormonal pathway may make people more susceptible to developing melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. [More]
CRISPR system involved in promoting antibiotic resistance

CRISPR system involved in promoting antibiotic resistance

CRISPR, a system of genes that bacteria use to fend off viruses, is involved in promoting antibiotic resistance in Francisella novicida, a close relative of the bacterium that causes tularemia. [More]
Researchers recover genome of bacterium from 700-year-old skeleton

Researchers recover genome of bacterium from 700-year-old skeleton

European researchers have recovered a genome of the bacterium Brucella melitensis from a 700-year-old skeleton found in the ruins of a Medieval Italian village. [More]
Researchers describe innovative technique for early disease detection

Researchers describe innovative technique for early disease detection

Despite impressive medical strides, cancer remains a leading killer and overwhelming burden to healthcare systems, causing well over a half million fatalities per year with a projected cost of $174 billion by 2020, according to the National Cancer Institute. [More]
New research opens up potential new therapeutic targets for hard-to-treat food allergy

New research opens up potential new therapeutic targets for hard-to-treat food allergy

New research in Nature Genetics identifies a novel genetic and molecular pathway in the esophagus that causes eosinophillic esophagitis (EoE), opening up potential new therapeutic strategies for an enigmatic and hard-to-treat food allergy. [More]
Sunscreens do not protect totally against development of skin cancer, shows study

Sunscreens do not protect totally against development of skin cancer, shows study

The researcher at the Neurosciences Institute, Joint Center of the University Miguel Hernández (UMH) in Elche and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Berta López Sánchez-Laorden co-authored a study that concluded that sunscreens do not protect totally against the development of skin cancer. [More]
New genetic programs for taking blank-slate stem cells and turning them into human blood

New genetic programs for taking blank-slate stem cells and turning them into human blood

The ability to reliably and safely make in the laboratory all of the different types of cells in human blood is one key step closer to reality. [More]
CYD-TDV vaccine shows moderate protection against dengue in Asian children

CYD-TDV vaccine shows moderate protection against dengue in Asian children

The first dengue vaccine candidate (CYD-TDV) to reach phase 3 clinical testing has shown moderate protection (56%) against the disease in Asian children, according to new research published in The Lancet. [More]
2D IR spectroscopy reveals intermediate structure during amylin aggregation pathway

2D IR spectroscopy reveals intermediate structure during amylin aggregation pathway

Amyloid diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, cataracts, and the spongiform encephalopathies, all share the common trait that proteins aggregate into long fibers which then form plaques. [More]