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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.
Iceland paint a genomic picture for an entire nation

Iceland paint a genomic picture for an entire nation

Researchers in Iceland have published the largest ever studies of whole-genome data and effectively deduced the genetic code of “an entire nation.” [More]
Keeping ahead of the curve - get the most out of challenging qPCR assays

Keeping ahead of the curve - get the most out of challenging qPCR assays

Ideal for both experienced and novice qPCR users, the talk will cover the benefits and limitations of melt curve analysis and suggest troubleshooting techniques. Attendees will learn how to analyze melt curves to extract reliable data from challenging experiments. [More]
Position statement on promise, challenges of non-invasive prenatal testing

Position statement on promise, challenges of non-invasive prenatal testing

Two of the world's largest professional societies of human geneticists have issued a joint position statement on the promise and challenges of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), a new procedure to test blood drawn from pregnant mothers for Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders in the fetus. [More]
Theravectys gets authorization to produce lentiviral vectors for clinical use and CAR-T cell-based immunotherapy

Theravectys gets authorization to produce lentiviral vectors for clinical use and CAR-T cell-based immunotherapy

THERAVECTYS, a clinical development biotechnology company that focuses on the development of therapeutic vaccines and immunotherapies, proudly announces that its manufacturing plant has obtained the status of a pharmaceutical manufacturing establishment, granted by the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety. [More]
Agena Bioscience releases LungFUSION Panel to identify gene fusions in NSCLC tumors

Agena Bioscience releases LungFUSION Panel to identify gene fusions in NSCLC tumors

Agena Bioscience today released the LungFUSION Panel for rapid and sensitive identification of oncogenic ALK, RET, and ROS1 gene fusions in non-small cell lung cancer tumors. [More]
New study reveals how cells sort out loops meant to encode microRNAs

New study reveals how cells sort out loops meant to encode microRNAs

Just as two DNA strands naturally arrange themselves into a helix, DNA's molecular cousin RNA can form hairpin-like loops. But unlike DNA, which has a single job, RNA can play many parts -- including acting as a precursor for small molecules that block the activity of genes. These small RNA molecules must be trimmed from long hairpin-loop structures, raising a question: How do cells know which RNA loops need to be processed this way and which don't? [More]
Markovian models show promise for describing postoperative pain trajectories

Markovian models show promise for describing postoperative pain trajectories

Markovian models show promise for describing postoperative pain states and, eventually, may help guide clinical decisions, a new study found. [More]
DNA samples collected from tampons may help detect endometrial cancer

DNA samples collected from tampons may help detect endometrial cancer

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have shown that it is possible to detect endometrial cancer using tumor DNA picked up by ordinary tampons. The new approach specifically examines DNA samples from vaginal secretions for the presence of chemical "off" switches — known as methylation — that can disable genes that normally keep cancer in check. [More]
Brain-somatic-activating mutations in MTOR cause focal cortical dysplasia type II

Brain-somatic-activating mutations in MTOR cause focal cortical dysplasia type II

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that afflicts more than 50 million people worldwide. Many epilepsy patients can control their symptoms through medication, but about 30% suffer from intractable epilepsy and are unable to manage the disease with drugs. Intractable epilepsy causes multiple seizures, permanent mental, physical, and developmental disabilities, and even death. [More]
Experimental drug that attacks brain tumor cells passes early tests

Experimental drug that attacks brain tumor cells passes early tests

An experimental drug that attacks brain tumor tissue by crippling the cells' energy source called the mitochondria has passed early tests in animal models and human tissue cultures, say Houston Methodist scientists. [More]
Broad Institute of MIT researcher honored for groundbreaking research using new gene editing tool

Broad Institute of MIT researcher honored for groundbreaking research using new gene editing tool

The newest gene editing tool - called CRISPR-Cas9 - is leading to new research possibilities in cell biology and neuroscience. This includes the ability to make transgenic animal models more quickly, which helps researchers better study diseases that affect thousands of people each year. [More]
Newly discovered bodily process may explain fetal brain bleeds

Newly discovered bodily process may explain fetal brain bleeds

A newly discovered bodily process in mice may explain why some human fetuses who have different antigens than their mothers suffer life-threatening brain bleeds, according to a new study. [More]
Researchers use genetic information to track the fatal spread of multidrug-resistant TB

Researchers use genetic information to track the fatal spread of multidrug-resistant TB

Scientists have for the first time used DNA sequencing to trace the fatal spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis between patients in the UK. [More]
Research suggests genetic predisposition to spontaneous coronary artery disease

Research suggests genetic predisposition to spontaneous coronary artery disease

A Mayo Clinic study has identified a familial association in spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a type of heart attack that most commonly affects younger women, suggesting a genetic predisposition to the condition, researchers say. [More]
Scientists use DNA sequencing to trace the spread of drug-resistant TB

Scientists use DNA sequencing to trace the spread of drug-resistant TB

Scientists have for the first time used DNA sequencing to trace the fatal spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis between patients in the UK. [More]
Scientists identify key molecules that trigger immune system to fight tularemia

Scientists identify key molecules that trigger immune system to fight tularemia

Research led by scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has identified key molecules that trigger the immune system to launch an attack on the bacterium that causes tularemia. [More]
TGAC plans to use miniaturised sequencing device to conduct live environmental surveillance

TGAC plans to use miniaturised sequencing device to conduct live environmental surveillance

As one of the first research Institutes to take part in the MinION Access Programme (MAP) for portable DNA sequencing, introduced by Oxford Nanopore Technologies, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC)'s task force share their experience of the ground breaking trial so far. [More]
ISSCR statement calls for moratorium nuclear genome editing of human germ line

ISSCR statement calls for moratorium nuclear genome editing of human germ line

In a statement released yesterday, the International Society for Stem Cell Research called for a moratorium on attempts at clinical application of nuclear genome editing of the human germ line to enable more extensive scientific analysis of the potential risks of genome editing and broader public discussion of the societal and ethical implications. [More]
How our DNA may prevent bowel cancer

How our DNA may prevent bowel cancer

The link between taking aspirin, and similar medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDS), and bowel (colorectal) cancer prevention is well established. [More]
Male genetic diversity declined due to wealth, power rather than `survival of fittest`

Male genetic diversity declined due to wealth, power rather than `survival of fittest`

The DNA you inherit from your parents contributes to the physical make-up of your body -- whether you have blue eyes or brown, black hair or red, or are male or female. [More]
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