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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.
Tumour suppressor gene has greater anti-cancer activity than previously thought

Tumour suppressor gene has greater anti-cancer activity than previously thought

New insight into the function of a gene important in the suppression of cancer is published today. Researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway have shown that the TP53 gene has even greater anti-cancer activity than previously thought. [More]
Scientists discover genomic alterations in pediatric relapsed ALL

Scientists discover genomic alterations in pediatric relapsed ALL

A group of researchers from Columbia University, Rutgers University, and institutions in Europe and Japan have identified genomic alterations in pediatric relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that cause both therapy resistance and improved clinical response to multi-agent chemotherapy treatment. [More]
Duke researchers discover blood markers linked to drug-resistant tumor cells

Duke researchers discover blood markers linked to drug-resistant tumor cells

While searching for a non-invasive way to detect prostate cancer cells circulating in blood, Duke Cancer Institute researchers have identified some blood markers associated with tumor resistance to two common hormone therapies. [More]
Scientists engineer smallest-reported synthetic virus that may help advance gene therapy

Scientists engineer smallest-reported synthetic virus that may help advance gene therapy

Gene therapy is a kind of experimental treatment that is designed to fix faulty genetic material and help a patient fight off or recover from a disease. [More]
Sanger Institute partners with St. Jude to support discovery, understanding of genetic mutations in paediatric cancers

Sanger Institute partners with St. Jude to support discovery, understanding of genetic mutations in paediatric cancers

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is combining the power of COSMIC, its large-scale cancer genetics database, with ProteinPaint data mining and visualization system at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis TN, to support the discovery and understanding of genetic mutations in paediatric cancers. [More]
Genetic testing of mtDNA may reveal unknown ancestry that influences risk for breast cancer

Genetic testing of mtDNA may reveal unknown ancestry that influences risk for breast cancer

Genetic testing of mitochondrial DNA could reveal otherwise unknown ancestry that can influence a person's risk for certain types of breast cancer, a new study finds. [More]
Study suggests interactions between distant DNA regions may impact disease gene levels

Study suggests interactions between distant DNA regions may impact disease gene levels

A person's DNA sequence can provide a lot of information about how genes are turned on and off, but new research out of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine suggests the 3-D structure DNA forms as it crams into cells may provide an additional layer of gene control. [More]
Researchers use novel technique to unravel key mystery of earliest stage of development

Researchers use novel technique to unravel key mystery of earliest stage of development

A Ludwig Cancer Research study published online September 14th in Nature reports a novel technique to map specific chemical (or "epigenetic") modifications made to the protein packaging of DNA using a small population of cells. [More]
CHOP researchers exploit gene discovery in severe epilepsy to identify precision treatment

CHOP researchers exploit gene discovery in severe epilepsy to identify precision treatment

An international team of researchers who discovered a new gene disorder that causes severe childhood epilepsy leveraged that finding to reduce seizures in two children. [More]
Researchers identify genetic switch that may be potential target for Alzheimer's disease

Researchers identify genetic switch that may be potential target for Alzheimer's disease

A team at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, based at Imperial College London, has found an important part of the machinery that switches on a gene known to protect against Alzheimer's Disease. [More]
Scientists begin research work at new £650 million Francis Crick Institute building

Scientists begin research work at new £650 million Francis Crick Institute building

The first scientists have moved into the new £650 million Francis Crick Institute building in London and are starting work in their purpose-built labs. [More]
Genevac’s miVac DNA concentrator improves forensic sample preparation

Genevac’s miVac DNA concentrator improves forensic sample preparation

Genevac report on a paper by UK researchers describing use of its miVac DNA concentrator to provide reliable and efficient sample preparation in the development of a novel forensic method to detect diclofenac residues in vultures and livestock animals. [More]
IU receives $1.9 million grant to investigate effects of congenital birth defects and age on the eye

IU receives $1.9 million grant to investigate effects of congenital birth defects and age on the eye

A $1.9 million grant to Indiana University from the National Institutes of Health's National Eye Institute will advance basic research on the eye with applications to blindness caused by genetic disorders and aging. [More]
Researchers identify mutant traits in mouse for many human disease genes

Researchers identify mutant traits in mouse for many human disease genes

About one-third of all genes in the mammalian genome are essential for life. An international, multi-institutional research collaboration identified, for the first time, mutant traits in the mouse for 52 human disease genes, which significantly contributes to the understanding of the genetic bases for some human diseases, including cardiovascular defects, spina bifida, and metabolic disorders, among many others. The study was published this week in Nature. [More]
New less invasive method could detect bacterial infection in young febrile infants

New less invasive method could detect bacterial infection in young febrile infants

Physicians from Children's Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University, UC Davis Medical Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital, in collaboration with 19 other pediatric emergency departments around the country, have established a "proof of principle" for measuring patterns of ribonucleic acid (RNA) expression in the bloodstream that can enable clinicians to distinguish bacterial infections from other causes of fever in infants up to two months old. [More]
Memory of heart attack can be stored in genes through epigenetic changes, study shows

Memory of heart attack can be stored in genes through epigenetic changes, study shows

Both heredity and environmental factors influence our risk of cardiovascular disease. A new study, by researches at Uppsala University, shows now that the memory of a heart attack can be stored in our genes through epigenetic changes. [More]
Chromatrap reports benefits of using ChIP-seq kit for histone methylation applications

Chromatrap reports benefits of using ChIP-seq kit for histone methylation applications

Chromatrap reports on the advantages of using its Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Sequencing (ChIP-seq) assay kits for histone methylation applications. [More]
Researchers identify and treat new variant of antibiotic-resistant E. coli

Researchers identify and treat new variant of antibiotic-resistant E. coli

Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear have discovered a new mutation in a highly antibiotic-resistant strain of E. coli that resists clearance by the body's own immune system by inhibiting white blood cells that ordinarily kill and remove bacteria. [More]
Research seeks to improve nutritional and milling quality of new oat varieties

Research seeks to improve nutritional and milling quality of new oat varieties

Most of the oats American milling companies use comes from Canada—that's something South Dakota State University oats breeder Melanie Caffé-Treml wants to change. Her research seeks to increase the quality of locally-grown oats. [More]
Automated CTC analysis isoflux cytation imager launched by Fluxion Biosciences

Automated CTC analysis isoflux cytation imager launched by Fluxion Biosciences

Fluxion Biosciences, Inc. announced today that it has launched a new imaging system, the IsoFlux Cytation Imager, designed to work exclusively with the IsoFlux Liquid Biopsy System and CTC Enumeration Kit. The IsoFlux Cytation Imager comes pre-configured with all components and software required for automated CTC image acquisition. [More]
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