Genetics

Researchers unlock the secrets of liver regeneration

In a recent study published in the journal Developmental Cell, NYU Abu Dhabi researchers have reported a new way in which the liver is primed to regenerate itself. They found that by stripping parts of the epigenome, which ...

Genetics

Expert discusses RNA's role in diagnosing rare diseases

An individual's genetic makeup, or genome, can reveal important and intimate details of his or her biology. Now, scientists are showing that RNA, the lesser-known molecular cousin of DNA, is powerful in its own right and ...

Genetics

Who's your daddy? Don't ask a DNA test

"Man Ordered to Pay $65K in Child Support for Kid Who Isn't His." "Father Hopes to Change State Paternity Law" after losing custody of his biological daughter to another man. The headlines are lurid and seemingly nonsensical. ...

Genetics

Rapid DNA analysis helps diagnose mystery diseases

As doctors, we deal with a lot of uncertainty. Often, it is difficult to diagnose what is making a patient sick because symptoms from both infectious and non-infectious diseases can be indistinguishable from each other.

Medical research

Mouth rinse for HPV DNA may be biomarker in head, neck cancer

(HealthDay)—Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA detected from a mouth rinse may be an effective marker for prognosis during treatment of HPV-positive head and neck cancer, according to a study recently published in JAMA Oncology.

Oncology & Cancer

Drug makes tumors more susceptible to chemo

Many chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by severely damaging their DNA. However, some tumors can withstand this damage by relying on a DNA repair pathway that not only allows them to survive, but also introduces mutations ...

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DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and some viruses. The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information. DNA is often compared to a set of blueprints or a recipe, or a code, since it contains the instructions needed to construct other components of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules. The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information.

Chemically, DNA consists of two long polymers of simple units called nucleotides, with backbones made of sugars and phosphate groups joined by ester bonds. These two strands run in opposite directions to each other and are therefore anti-parallel. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of molecules called bases. It is the sequence of these four bases along the backbone that encodes information. This information is read using the genetic code, which specifies the sequence of the amino acids within proteins. The code is read by copying stretches of DNA into the related nucleic acid RNA, in a process called transcription.

Within cells, DNA is organized into X-shaped structures called chromosomes. These chromosomes are duplicated before cells divide, in a process called DNA replication. Eukaryotic organisms (animals, plants, fungi, and protists) store most of their DNA inside the cell nucleus and some of their DNA in the mitochondria (animals and plants) and chloroplasts (plants only). Prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) however, store their DNA in the cell's cytoplasm. Within the chromosomes, chromatin proteins such as histones compact and organize DNA. These compact structures guide the interactions between DNA and other proteins, helping control which parts of the DNA are transcribed.

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