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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.
DF/BWCC introduces new website to provide information about precision cancer medicine

DF/BWCC introduces new website to provide information about precision cancer medicine

Precision cancer medicine - diagnosis and treatment based on the genetic abnormalities of a specific tumor - is playing an ever-larger role in cancer care. The field got a boost earlier this year when President Barack Obama proposed a $215 million federal Precision Medicine Initiative with cancer as one of its priorities. [More]
Non-coding micro RNA molecule may control chemotherapy resistance among ovarian cancer patients

Non-coding micro RNA molecule may control chemotherapy resistance among ovarian cancer patients

A molecule that helps control gene expression may play a role in controlling chemotherapy resistance among patients with the most common form of ovarian cancer. [More]
First-of-its-kind DNA bank aims at advancing research into genetics of stuttering

First-of-its-kind DNA bank aims at advancing research into genetics of stuttering

Scientists at the University of Alberta's Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research want Albertans to give a spit -- five millilitres to be precise -- to help find the cause and a cure for stuttering. [More]
IDT facilitates versatile, scalable solution to enrich enhancer:promoter interactions

IDT facilitates versatile, scalable solution to enrich enhancer:promoter interactions

Advancing the development of novel methods for understanding gene expression, Integrated DNA Technologies has enabled Dr Jim Hughes, Associate Professor at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, UK, to optimize his unique Capture-C method, based on Chromosomal Conformational Capture (3C). [More]
Leeds scientists examine benefits of hyaluronic acid in helping improve IVF success rates

Leeds scientists examine benefits of hyaluronic acid in helping improve IVF success rates

Scientists from the University of Leeds are investigating whether a molecule usually found in moisturisers and skin creams could improve IVF success rates in the UK. [More]
Johns Hopkins researchers identify new therapy to treat lung cancer

Johns Hopkins researchers identify new therapy to treat lung cancer

A multidisciplinary team led by Johns Hopkins researcher Venu Raman, Ph.D., with notable contributions from Guus Bol, Farhad Vesuna and Phuoc Tran of Johns Hopkins, has identified a new therapy for lung cancer, the most common cancer worldwide. The therapy has been in development for six years and involves a first-in-class molecule designed by the team. [More]
Type 2 diabetes screening followed by treatment could reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, death

Type 2 diabetes screening followed by treatment could reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, death

Screening to identify Type 2 diabetes followed by early treatment could result in substantial health benefits, according to new research published today in Diabetes Care that combined large scale clinical observations and innovative computer modelling. [More]
Study finds new colon cancer screening as promising alternative to colonoscopy for African Americans

Study finds new colon cancer screening as promising alternative to colonoscopy for African Americans

In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, physician-scientists at University Hospitals Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that a new non-invasive technology for colon cancer screening is a promising alternative to colonoscopy for African Americans. [More]
Researchers uncover mechanism behind common mutation that helps cancer cells replicate limitlessly

Researchers uncover mechanism behind common mutation that helps cancer cells replicate limitlessly

More than 500,000 people in the United States die each year of cancer-related causes. Now, emerging research has identified the mechanism behind one of the most common mutations that help cancer cells replicate limitlessly. [More]
NAS, NAM launch major initiative to guide decision making on human gene-editing research

NAS, NAM launch major initiative to guide decision making on human gene-editing research

The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine are launching a major initiative to guide decision making about controversial new research involving human gene editing. Human gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, may lead to promising new treatments for disease. [More]
Study quantifies different mutational profiles of tumour cell clusters in patients with bowel cancer

Study quantifies different mutational profiles of tumour cell clusters in patients with bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is often driven by mutations in one of several different genes, and a patient can have a cancer with a different genetic make-up to another patient's cancer. Identifying the molecular alterations involved in each patient's cancer enables doctors to choose drugs that best target specific alterations. [More]
New blood test detects breast cancer metastasis earlier than is currently possible

New blood test detects breast cancer metastasis earlier than is currently possible

Research findings from Lund University in Sweden now provide new hope for a way of detecting metastases significantly earlier than is currently possible. [More]
Researchers discover how and where chromosome fragile sites occur in human DNA

Researchers discover how and where chromosome fragile sites occur in human DNA

Using a novel method they developed to map chromosome breaks in a model organism, the budding yeast, Wenyi Feng, Ph.D., of Upstate Medical University and her colleagues have discovered new information as to how and where chromosome fragile sites can occur in human DNA. These sites are frequently observed in cancer cells and are responsible for causing genomic rearrangements. [More]
Drug combination lengthens lives of metastatic colorectal cancer patients

Drug combination lengthens lives of metastatic colorectal cancer patients

A drug developed 50 years ago and abandoned because it was considered to be too toxic has gained a second life in an international clinical trial. Research led by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute showed the drug and a potentiating agent lengthened the lives of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, all of whom had exhausted available standard treatments. [More]
Study evaluates prenatal nutrition and genome-wide DNA patterns in adults exposed to malnutrition

Study evaluates prenatal nutrition and genome-wide DNA patterns in adults exposed to malnutrition

Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Leiden University in the Netherlands found that children whose mothers were malnourished at famine levels during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy had changes in DNA methylation known to suppress genes involved in growth, development, and metabolism documented at age 59. [More]
Smoking-related DNA damage can be detected in cheek swabs

Smoking-related DNA damage can be detected in cheek swabs

DNA damage caused by smoking can be detected in cheek swabs, finds research published today in JAMA Oncology. The study provides evidence that smoking induces a general cancer program that is also present in cancers which aren't usually associated with it - including breast and gynaecological cancers. [More]
Profiling normal DNA provides opportunity to identify inherited mutations

Profiling normal DNA provides opportunity to identify inherited mutations

As the practice of genetically profiling patient tumors for clinical treatment decision making becomes more commonplace, a recent study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that profiling normal DNA also provides an important opportunity to identify inherited mutations that could be critical for patients and their families. [More]
Scientists identify new molecules that destroy cancer cells, save healthy ones

Scientists identify new molecules that destroy cancer cells, save healthy ones

Researchers have identified new molecules that kill cancer cells while protecting healthy cells and that could be used to treat a variety of different cancers. The research shines a light on what happens to cells at the moment they become cancerous. [More]
MO BIO announces launch of PowerMag DNA Clean-Up Kit

MO BIO announces launch of PowerMag DNA Clean-Up Kit

MO BIO Laboratories, Inc., the leader in soil, environmental, plant and microbial nucleic acid purification, announces the launch of the PowerMag DNA Clean-Up Kit, for automated, hands-free clean-up of DNA samples that require a secondary purification for removal of PCR inhibitors. This kit features MO BIO's novel ClearMag magnetic bead technology. [More]
Human microbiome contains unique fingerprints, shows study

Human microbiome contains unique fingerprints, shows study

A new study shows that the microbial communities we carry in and on our bodies—known as the human microbiome—have the potential to uniquely identify individuals, much like a fingerprint. [More]
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