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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.
Researchers assemble first high-resolution, 3-D maps of folded genomes

Researchers assemble first high-resolution, 3-D maps of folded genomes

In a triumph for cell biology, researchers have assembled the first high-resolution, 3-D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation -- a kind of "genomic origami" that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells. The research appears online today in Cell. [More]
TGen uncovers way to track cause of neurological disorder in a young girl

TGen uncovers way to track cause of neurological disorder in a young girl

Using a basic genetic difference between men and women, the Translational Genomics Research Institute has uncovered a way to track down the source of a neurological disorder in a young girl. [More]
ALS Association announces research funds to further understand genetic cause of ALS

ALS Association announces research funds to further understand genetic cause of ALS

The ALS Association is pleased to announce the award of $326,662 in research funds to expand ongoing natural history studies in order to further understand the most common genetic cause of ALS, in preparation for clinical trials in those whose disease is affected by this gene. [More]
HudsonAlpha buys Illumina HiSeq X Ten sequencing system

HudsonAlpha buys Illumina HiSeq X Ten sequencing system

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology today announced it has purchased the HiSeq X Ten sequencing system manufactured by Illumina, Inc. The technology will enable HudsonAlpha to produce and analyze genomic data faster and at a lower cost. The purchase stems from the Institute's commitment to research programs for genomics excellence in patient care. [More]
New study investigates use of DNA barcoding to test authenticity of popular herbal supplements

New study investigates use of DNA barcoding to test authenticity of popular herbal supplements

Dr. Damon Little, Associate Curator of Bioinformatics in the Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics at The New York Botanical Garden, has just published a new study in the journal Genome investigating the use of DNA barcoding to test the authenticity of Ginkgo biloba (G. biloba), an herbal dietary supplement sold to consumers that is supposed to boost cognitive capacity. [More]
New statistical model enables better identification of different cell types in solid tumors

New statistical model enables better identification of different cell types in solid tumors

A new statistical model developed by a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute may enable physicians to create personalized cancer treatments for patients based on the specific genetic mutations found in their tumors. [More]
Study finds that K13 gene mutations cause malaria drug resistance in Southeast Asia

Study finds that K13 gene mutations cause malaria drug resistance in Southeast Asia

Growing resistance to malaria drugs in Southeast Asia is caused by a single mutated gene inside the disease-causing Plasmodium falciparum parasite, according to a study led by David Fidock, PhD, professor of microbiology & immunology and of medical sciences (in medicine) at Columbia University Medical Center. [More]
Cold 'sensor' hold key to new therapeutic target for treatment of frostbite and hypothermia

Cold 'sensor' hold key to new therapeutic target for treatment of frostbite and hypothermia

A cold 'sensor' which triggers the skin's vascular response to the cold could represent an exciting new therapeutic target for the treatment of frostbite and hypothermia, according to scientists at King's College London. [More]
MSU researchers find possible way to boost healthy cell production in cancer patients during chemo

MSU researchers find possible way to boost healthy cell production in cancer patients during chemo

Michigan State University scientists are closer to discovering a possible way to boost healthy cell production in cancer patients as they receive chemotherapy. By adding thymine - a natural building block found in DNA - into normal cells, they found it stimulated gene production and caused them to multiply. [More]
BGI Diagnostics develops ‘education hub’ to raise awareness about non-invasive prenatal testing

BGI Diagnostics develops ‘education hub’ to raise awareness about non-invasive prenatal testing

provider of accurate, reliable and affordable genetic tests and molecular diagnostics services has demonstrated its commitment to raising awareness about non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) by developing a dedicated ‘education hub’ as part of its new, highly informative website. [More]
Claritas, NextCODE Health partner to bring global leadership in pediatric medicine, sequence analysis

Claritas, NextCODE Health partner to bring global leadership in pediatric medicine, sequence analysis

To rapidly expand the use and power of genomic sequencing for diagnosing and treating rare diseases, Claritas Genomics and NextCODE Health today announced a strategic partnership bringing together global leadership in pediatric medicine and sequence analysis. Claritas Genomics, affiliated with Boston Children's Hospital, is a CLIA-certified clinical laboratory serving the DNA-based diagnostic testing needs of children's hospitals that admit hundreds of thousands of patients with genetic disorders every year. [More]
GI Partners completes acquisition of 9911 Belward Campus Drive

GI Partners completes acquisition of 9911 Belward Campus Drive

GI Partners today announced that it has completed the acquisition of 9911 Belward Campus Drive located in Rockville, Maryland. The acquisition was made through TechCore, LLC, which is a $1 billion discretionary core real estate fund managed by GI Partners. [More]
AMSBIO announces DNA-In™ Neuro Transfection Reagent

AMSBIO announces DNA-In™ Neuro Transfection Reagent

AMSBIO announces DNA-In™ Neuro- a new generation transfection reagent developed specifically for maximum nucleic acid delivery into neurons, typically achieving a 2-fold or greater improvement in efficiency over currently available competing reagents. [More]
Andor's Komet software used to automatically score modified 3D 'Comet' assay results

Andor's Komet software used to automatically score modified 3D 'Comet' assay results

With cancer rates rising worldwide, and Cancer Research UK predicting that the lifetime risk of cancer will reach 50% by 2027, the need for early diagnosis is overwhelming. Now, a British research group has published details of a simple empirical test to detect any early-stage cancer, relying on Andor's Komet software to automatically score the modified 3D 'Comet' assay results. [More]
Higher human exposure to metal cadmium can lead to shorter telomeres

Higher human exposure to metal cadmium can lead to shorter telomeres

A new study led by a researcher at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University looks at the metal cadmium and finds that higher human exposure can lead to significantly shorter telomeres, bits of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other diseases of old age. [More]
Researchers pinpoint rare gene mutations that increase risk of heart attack early in life

Researchers pinpoint rare gene mutations that increase risk of heart attack early in life

A team of investigators from the Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital and other leading biomedical research institutions has pinpointed rare mutations in a gene called APOA5 that increase a person's risk of having a heart attack early in life. These mutations disable the APOA5 gene and also raise the levels in the blood of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, a type of fat. [More]

Researchers identify way to assess women at increased risk for UTI after pelvic-floor surgery

Researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine may have identified a way to assess who is at risk for developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) following pelvic-floor surgery. [More]
New technique allows rapid, large-scale studies of gene function

New technique allows rapid, large-scale studies of gene function

Using a gene-editing system originally developed to delete specific genes, MIT researchers have now shown that they can reliably turn on any gene of their choosing in living cells. [More]
STSI researchers launch study to examine root cause of sudden unexpected death

STSI researchers launch study to examine root cause of sudden unexpected death

Researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute have launched a clinical trial aimed at cracking one of the toughest mysteries in forensic science -- sudden unexplained death. [More]
Added benefit of daclatasvir drug not proven for chronic hepatitis C infection

Added benefit of daclatasvir drug not proven for chronic hepatitis C infection

The drug daclatasvir (trade name Daklinza) has been available since August 2014 for the treatment of adults with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care examined in a dossier assessment whether this new drug offers an added benefit over the appropriate comparator therapy. [More]