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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 identify definitive genetic defect in angiocentric gliomas

Researchers identify definitive genetic defect in angiocentric gliomas

Diagnosis and treatment decisions for a recently recognized type of children's brain tumor should be improved by the discovery of the genetic mechanism that causes it, say researchers who identified the unusual DNA abnormality in angiocentric gliomas. [More]
Radiation could increase responses to innovative immune-based therapeutic approaches to fight cancer

Radiation could increase responses to innovative immune-based therapeutic approaches to fight cancer

A team of Georgia State University researchers is fighting cancers using a combination of therapies and recently found ways that radiation could maximize responses to novel immune-based therapeutic approaches to fight cancer. [More]
New study lays foundation for future gene replacement therapies to treat ALS patients

New study lays foundation for future gene replacement therapies to treat ALS patients

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to specifically modify gene expression in diseased upper motor neurons, brain cells that break down in ALS. [More]
Researchers show how bacterial colony protects itself against toxic substances

Researchers show how bacterial colony protects itself against toxic substances

Bacterial populations move over surfaces in coordinated way known as swarming, which allows them to spread further over organs and tissues and increases the virulence of the infection. This movement is driven by the action of the flagella and the chemoreceptors, the systems responsible for identifying chemical compounds in the environment and which are anchored at the poles of their cells, forming highly organised structures, of which the protein CheW forms part. [More]
New technology could help identify, characterize biologically active molecules produced by living cells

New technology could help identify, characterize biologically active molecules produced by living cells

Gene sequencing company Illumina recently made big waves by announcing a new spinoff, Grail, dedicated to building a test for cancer by sequencing tumor DNA fragments found in blood. The company also reported plans for a separate project to identify single cells and tag them for later analysis. [More]
FedMed gains access to Trovagene's Precision Cancer Monitoring tests and service

FedMed gains access to Trovagene's Precision Cancer Monitoring tests and service

Trovagene, Inc., a developer of cell-free molecular diagnostics, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with FedMed, Inc. establishing health benefit access to Trovagene's full line of Precision Cancer Monitoring (PCM) tests and services. [More]
Research offers novel insights into root causes of schizophrenia

Research offers novel insights into root causes of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mysterious and devastating disorder that afflicts one percent of the adult population worldwide. Its symptoms — hallucinations, emotional withdrawal, and cognitive impairment — are chronic and typically emerge just as individuals are entering adulthood. Today's medications treat just one of these symptoms (psychosis); treatments for the underlying disease and its many other symptoms have been hard to develop, because no one really understands what causes the disorder. [More]
Study provides vital information about mechanisms governing DNA repair

Study provides vital information about mechanisms governing DNA repair

DNA damage can lead to gene inactivation or deregulation and cause various diseases such as cancer; however, many DNA repair mechanisms allow cells to survive against such damage. A study lead by Antoine Simoneau of the laboratory of Dr. Hugo Wurtele, a researcher in immunology-oncology at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal) and professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, and recently published in the prestigious journal Nucleic Acids Research, provides valuable information about certain mechanisms governing DNA repair. [More]
New partnership aims to study underlying neurobiology and genetics of PTSD, TBI

New partnership aims to study underlying neurobiology and genetics of PTSD, TBI

Cohen Veterans Bioscience today announced two new collaborative partnership efforts that will provide critical research tools for understanding the underlying neurobiology and genetics of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) with the goal of accelerating the development of first generation diagnostics and treatments. [More]
Men with ASD have differences in brain connections

Men with ASD have differences in brain connections

Research at King's College London has revealed subtle brain differences in adult males with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which may go some way towards explaining why symptoms persist into adulthood in some people with the disorder. [More]
UCL-led researchers find way to assess viability of induced pluripotent stem cells

UCL-led researchers find way to assess viability of induced pluripotent stem cells

A research team led by scientists from UCL have found a way to assess the viability of 'manufactured' stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Published today in Nature Communications, the team's discovery offers a new way to fast-track screening methods used in stem cell research. [More]
Two studies shed new light on nature of tandem DNA repeat arrays

Two studies shed new light on nature of tandem DNA repeat arrays

A pair of studies by a team of scientists has shed new light on the nature of a particular type of DNA sequences—tandem DNA repeat arrays—that play important roles in transcription control, genome organization, and development. [More]
Multinational study suggests new way to classify gliomas

Multinational study suggests new way to classify gliomas

A comprehensive analysis of the molecular characteristics of gliomas—the most common malignant brain tumor—explains why some patients diagnosed with slow-growing (low-grade) tumors quickly succumb to the disease while others with more aggressive (high-grade) tumors survive for many years. [More]
Researchers developing new methods to better analyze effects of e-cig flavorings

Researchers developing new methods to better analyze effects of e-cig flavorings

Faculty and student researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf are developing methods to better analyze the effects of flavorings used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). [More]
New NYUCD study explores how gene expression initiated in notochord

New NYUCD study explores how gene expression initiated in notochord

A new study by basic science researchers in the Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology at New York University College of Dentistry sought to understand how gene expression is initiated in the notochord, the evolutionary and developmental precursor of the backbone. [More]
CNIO team uses network theory to build and study first epigenetic communication network

CNIO team uses network theory to build and study first epigenetic communication network

One of the big questions for which there is still no clear answer in biology is how, based on the four universal letters that make up DNA, it is possible to generate such different organisms as a fly or a human, or the different organs and tissues they comprise. In recent years, researchers have discovered that the system is much more complicated than was originally thought. [More]
Researchers find how microtubules, motor proteins assemble into macroscopic networks

Researchers find how microtubules, motor proteins assemble into macroscopic networks

What bones are to bodies, the cytoskeleton is to cells. The cytoskeleton maintains cellular structure, builds appendages like flagella and, together with motor proteins, powers cellular movement, transport, and division. Microtubules are a critical component of the cytoskeleton, vital for cell division and, because of that, an excellent target for chemotherapy drugs. [More]
Genetic mutations could help explain cause of cancer in pediatric patients

Genetic mutations could help explain cause of cancer in pediatric patients

Combined whole exome tumor and blood sequencing in pediatric cancer patients revealed mutations that could help explain the cause of cancer or have the potential to impact clinical cancer care in 40 percent of patients in a study led by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Cancer Center. [More]
Scientists discover epigenetic switch linked to obesity

Scientists discover epigenetic switch linked to obesity

It is well known that a predisposition to adiposity lies in our genes. A new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg now shows that it is also crucial how these genes are regulated. The scientists led by Andrew Pospisilik discovered a novel regulatory, epigenetic switch, which causes individuals with identical genetic material, such as monozygotic twins, to either be lean or obese. [More]
Study provides detailed new information about diffuse glioma

Study provides detailed new information about diffuse glioma

An international collaborative study has revealed detailed new information about diffuse glioma, the most common type of tumor found in some 80 percent of adult brain cancer patients, raising hopes that better understanding of these disease groups may aid improved clinical outcomes. [More]
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