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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.
Eating more healthy fats may lower type 2 diabetes risk

Eating more healthy fats may lower type 2 diabetes risk

Eating more unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, in place of either dietary carbohydrate or saturated fats lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin resistance and secretion, according to a new meta-analysis of data from 102 randomised controlled feeding trials in adults. [More]
Scientists detect gut bacteria in deepest reaches of failing lungs

Scientists detect gut bacteria in deepest reaches of failing lungs

No one knows for sure how they got there. But the discovery that bacteria that normally live in the gut can be detected in the lungs of critically ill people and animals could mean a lot for intensive care patients. [More]
NorthShore launches first clinical trial to examine GRS test for cancer risk assessment

NorthShore launches first clinical trial to examine GRS test for cancer risk assessment

Researchers at NorthShore University HealthSystem have launched the first clinical trial to investigate a genetic risk score (GRS) test to predict the risk of breast, prostate and colorectal cancer in the primary care setting. [More]
Cambridge Consultants creates new Evonetix spin-out to focus on accurate DNA synthesis

Cambridge Consultants creates new Evonetix spin-out to focus on accurate DNA synthesis

A breakthrough in DNA synthesis has led to the creation of a new spin-out company from the stable of product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants. [More]
Chromatrap describes methodologies to increase ChIP efficiency

Chromatrap describes methodologies to increase ChIP efficiency

Chromatrap, a business unit of Porvair Sciences, has published a new technical article that discusses and describes methodologies to increase Chromatin Immunoprecipitation efficiency by making sure chromatin in your samples is sheared to the correct size range. [More]
AMSBIO launches new CRISPR gRNA Lentivector Cloning Kits

AMSBIO launches new CRISPR gRNA Lentivector Cloning Kits

Anglo-American life science firm AMSBIO has introduced new CRISPR gRNA Lentivector Cloning Kits that provide scientists with a targeted and precise genomic gene editing methodology. [More]
Scientists explore black box of genome biology

Scientists explore black box of genome biology

Scientists at Florida State University, Baylor College of Medicine and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT have broken ground in a little-understood area of human genetics. [More]
Study finds new data about dMMR's hereditary basis in rectal cancer

Study finds new data about dMMR's hereditary basis in rectal cancer

Up to 15 percent of colorectal cancers show a genetic mutation known as DNA mismatch repair deficiency, or dMMR. [More]
Mutations in STN1 gene cause Coats plus syndrome

Mutations in STN1 gene cause Coats plus syndrome

A team of Israeli researchers has discovered that mutations in STN1, a gene that helps maintain the ends of chromosomes, cause the rare, inherited disorder Coats plus syndrome. [More]
Modifications to RUNX3 protein may promote cancer progression

Modifications to RUNX3 protein may promote cancer progression

Scientists from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore have discovered that modifications to a protein called RUNX3 may promote cancer progression. [More]
Study produces most detailed picture to date of genetics underlying type 2 diabetes

Study produces most detailed picture to date of genetics underlying type 2 diabetes

The largest study of its kind into type 2 diabetes has produced the most detailed picture to date of the genetics underlying the condition. [More]
Biologists develop new method for analyzing brain regions

Biologists develop new method for analyzing brain regions

Using the example of the fruit fly, a team of biologists led by Prof. Dr. Andrew Straw has identified patterns in the genetic activity of brain cells and taken them as a basis for drawing conclusions about the structure of the brain. [More]
New mass spectrometry imaging protocol allows analysis of metabolite composition of tissues

New mass spectrometry imaging protocol allows analysis of metabolite composition of tissues

In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in addition to those gained from Petri dishes and computer simulations. [More]
UC Davis scientists show how cells control DNA synthesis in mitochondria

UC Davis scientists show how cells control DNA synthesis in mitochondria

Aging, neurodegenerative disorders and metabolic disease are all linked to mitochondria, structures within our cells that generate chemical energy and maintain their own DNA. In a fundamental discovery with far-reaching implications, scientists at the University of California, Davis, now show how cells control DNA synthesis in mitochondria and couple it to mitochondrial division. [More]
Salk scientists propose new molecular criteria for generating naïve stem cells

Salk scientists propose new molecular criteria for generating naïve stem cells

Salk scientists and colleagues have proposed new molecular criteria for judging just how close any line of laboratory-generated stem cells comes to mimicking embryonic cells seen in the very earliest stages of human development, known as naïve stem cells. [More]
Inability to turn off genes in the brain can affect learning and memory

Inability to turn off genes in the brain can affect learning and memory

Every time you play a game of basketball, make a cup of coffee or flick on a light switch, you are turning on genes in your brain. These same genes typically are turned off when the activity ceases - but when that doesn't happen, damaging consequences can occur. [More]
Review highlights interconnected roles of apoptosis, cellular senescence in cancer and aging

Review highlights interconnected roles of apoptosis, cellular senescence in cancer and aging

A common feature of cancer and aging is cells' reduced ability to respond to stress-induced damage to DNA or cellular structures. [More]
Researchers develop new detection systems for genotyping DNA and RNA with naked eye

Researchers develop new detection systems for genotyping DNA and RNA with naked eye

DNA polymerases are the “Xerox machines” that replicate our DNA. They must work with great precision to keep errors from creeping into our genes. [More]
The Wistar Institute and partners receive HIV cure research grant to test novel immunotherapies

The Wistar Institute and partners receive HIV cure research grant to test novel immunotherapies

The Wistar Institute is pleased to announce that the National Institutes of Health has awarded a nearly $23 million Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure Research grant to the BEAT-HIV: Delaney Collaboratory to Cure HIV-1 Infection by Combination Immunotherapy, a consortium of top HIV researchers led by co-principal investigators Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., D.Phil., director of the HIV-1 Immunopathogenesis Laboratory at The Wistar Institute Vaccine Center, and James L. Riley, Ph.D., research associate professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. [More]
Researchers discover new biological pathway involved in Alzheimer's disease

Researchers discover new biological pathway involved in Alzheimer's disease

Researchers have identified a new biological pathway involved in Alzheimer's disease. In experiments using fruit flies, blocking the pathway reduced the death of brain cells, suggesting that interfering with the pathway could represent a promising new strategy to treat the disease in human patients. [More]
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