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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.
Allele-specific lncRNA regulates cancer metabolism

Allele-specific lncRNA regulates cancer metabolism

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) are unusual in that they don't encode proteins like normal RNA. Yet they do play a role in regulating cellular functions and interest cancer researchers. [More]
New CUMC study finds DNA anomalies in kids with chronic kidney disease

New CUMC study finds DNA anomalies in kids with chronic kidney disease

A significant proportion of children with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have unsuspected chromosomal imbalances, including DNA anomalies that have been linked to neurocognitive disorders, according to a new Columbia University Medical Center study. [More]
TERT gene alterations co-occur with frequently altered bladder cancer genes

TERT gene alterations co-occur with frequently altered bladder cancer genes

In results presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2015, a collaborative study by the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute reports that the TERT gene promoter was altered in 69 percent of 54 cases of bladder cancer due to variants that occur after birth (called "somatic") and in 56 percent of bladder cancers due to inherited variants (called "germline"). [More]
Global changes in cancer cells' epigenome may determine disease progression

Global changes in cancer cells' epigenome may determine disease progression

Genomic studies have illuminated the ways in which malfunctioning genes can drive cancer growth while stunting the therapeutic effects of chemotherapy and other treatments. But new findings from Weill Cornell Medical College investigators indicate that these genes are only partly to blame for why treatment that was at one point effective ultimately fails for about 40 percent of patients diagnosed with the most common form of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. [More]
Latest genome sequencing techniques help identify new autoimmune syndrome in children

Latest genome sequencing techniques help identify new autoimmune syndrome in children

Using the latest genome sequencing techniques, a research team led by scientists from UC San Francisco, Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas Children's Hospital has identified a new autoimmune syndrome characterized by a combination of severe lung disease and arthritis that currently has no therapy. [More]
New Dream Team dedicated to ovarian cancer research formed at AACR Annual Meeting 2015

New Dream Team dedicated to ovarian cancer research formed at AACR Annual Meeting 2015

Stand Up To Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, along with the American Association for Cancer Research, Scientific Partner to SU2C, announced today the formation of a Dream Team devoted to ovarian cancer research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, held here April 18-22. [More]
AACR throws spotlight on the experience of Individualized Molecular Pancreatic Cancer Therapy trial

AACR throws spotlight on the experience of Individualized Molecular Pancreatic Cancer Therapy trial

After performing thousands of unsuccessful experiments in his attempt to perfect the light bulb, Thomas Edison famously remarked: "I have not failed, not once. I've discovered ten thousand ways that don't work." [More]
Paradigm to provide PCDx test to oncologists in TD2 networks

Paradigm to provide PCDx test to oncologists in TD2 networks

Paradigm and Translational Drug Development today announced a partnership under which Paradigm will provide their PCDx test to TD2's affiliated oncology provider networks. [More]
Researchers reveal the precise mechanism used by bacteria to target invading viruses

Researchers reveal the precise mechanism used by bacteria to target invading viruses

One of the immune system's most critical challenges is to differentiate between itself and foreign invaders -- and the number of recognized autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks itself, is on the rise. [More]
Donald S. Coffey to receive Margaret Foti Award at AACR Annual Meeting 2015

Donald S. Coffey to receive Margaret Foti Award at AACR Annual Meeting 2015

Donald S. Coffey, PhD, will be honored with the ninth annual American Association for Cancer Research Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, to be held in Philadelphia, April 18-22. [More]
Patterns of DNA anomalies can predict outcomes in women with ovarian cancer

Patterns of DNA anomalies can predict outcomes in women with ovarian cancer

Nearly anyone touched by ovarian cancer will tell you: it's devastating. It's bad enough that cancer in almost 80 percent of patients reaches advanced stages before diagnosis, and that most patients are expected to die within five years. But just as painfully, roughly one quarter of women diagnosed have no warning that they are resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy, the main line of defense, nor that they will likely have 18 months to live. [More]
UAB research findings may lead to better treatment for women with HER2+ breast cancer

UAB research findings may lead to better treatment for women with HER2+ breast cancer

There are five subtypes of breast cancer, and they are distinct diseases with vastly different biologies that drastically alter their progression and responses to treatment. Understanding those differences is the starting point to a more effective, personalized treatment of breast cancer, which strikes more than 230,000 women in the U.S. each year. [More]
Research findings could bolster efforts to develop next gen of anti-viral treatments

Research findings could bolster efforts to develop next gen of anti-viral treatments

A newly developed spectroscopy method is helping to clarify the poorly understood molecular process by which an anti-HIV drug induces lethal mutations in the virus's genetic material. [More]
Autophagy: A new approach to fighting tuberculosis

Autophagy: A new approach to fighting tuberculosis

A new approach to combatting tuberculosis would take advantage of a complex, natural process called autophagy that the human body uses to recycle nutrients, remove damaged cell components, eliminate invading bacteria, and respond to inflammation. [More]
New UV light method could help stop spread of hospital superbugs

New UV light method could help stop spread of hospital superbugs

Can a robot clean a hospital room just as well as a person? According to new research out of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, that is indeed the case. Chetan Jinadatha, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and chief of infectious diseases at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple, is studying the effectiveness of a germ-zapping robot to clean hospital rooms, which could hold the key to preventing the spread of "superbugs" - in turn, saving countless dollars and, most importantly, lives. [More]
Johns Hopkins researchers link sperm with specific 'epigenetic tags' to autism

Johns Hopkins researchers link sperm with specific 'epigenetic tags' to autism

In a small study, Johns Hopkins researchers found that DNA from the sperm of men whose children had early signs of autism shows distinct patterns of regulatory tags that could contribute to the condition. A detailed report of their findings will be published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology on April 15. [More]
Ancient natural compound can protect the heart from hypertrophy

Ancient natural compound can protect the heart from hypertrophy

A natural compound derived from the bark of the magnolia tree, can protect the heart from hypertrophy, a thickening of cardiac muscle often caused by chronic high blood pressure that can lead to heart failure, researchers report in the April 14 issue of the online journal Nature Communications. [More]
Focus Diagnostics announces FDA clearance for Simplexa Group A Strep Direct Kit

Focus Diagnostics announces FDA clearance for Simplexa Group A Strep Direct Kit

Focus Diagnostics, the clinical-laboratory products business of Quest Diagnostics, today announced the FDA 510(k) clearance and CLIA moderate-complexity categorization for its Simplexa Group A Strep Direct Kit. Simplexa Group A Strep Direct is a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for the detection of Group A Streptococcus bacteria directly from throat swabs. [More]
SELLAS inks exclusive global collaboration, license agreement with TrojanTec

SELLAS inks exclusive global collaboration, license agreement with TrojanTec

SELLAS Life Sciences Group, a Swiss based, development-stage biopharmaceutical company with its main focus in developing innovative products for the treatment of various indications in Oncology and the Central Nervous System, today announced that it has signed an exclusive global collaboration and license agreement with TrojanTec Ltd, a UK-based Discovery Research and Development Company affiliated with Imperial College London, UK, for the development, marketing and commercialization of the innovative and proprietary TR-1 cancer therapeutic technology and drug. [More]
Atlas Genetics signs diagnostic collaboration to explore new use of io system

Atlas Genetics signs diagnostic collaboration to explore new use of io system

Atlas Genetics Ltd, the ultra-rapid 'test and treat' molecular diagnostics company, today announces that it has entered into a collaboration with a major pharmaceutical company to develop a diagnostic test, expanding capabilities beyond infectious diseases. [More]
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