DNA and Genes
Genes are the blueprints of life. Genes control everything from hair color to blood sugar by telling cells which proteins to make, how much, when, and where. Genes exist in most cells. Inside a cell is a long strand of the chemical DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). A DNA sequence is a specific lineup of chemical base pairs along its strand. The part of DNA that determines what protein to produce and when, is called a gene.
First established in 1985 by Sir Alec Jeffreys, DNA testing has become an increasingly popular method of identification and research. The applications of DNA testing, or DNA fingerprinting within forensic science is often what most people think of when they hear the phrase. Popularized by television and cinema, using DNA to match blood, hair or saliva to criminals is one purpose of testing DNA. It is also frequently used for other benefits, like wildlife studies, paternity testing, body identification, and in studies pertaining to human dispersion.While most aspects of DNA are identical in samples from all human beings, concentrating on identifying patterns called microsatellites reveals qualities specific and unique to the individual. During the early stages of this science, a DNA test was performed using an analysis called restriction fragment length polymorphism. Because this process was extremely time consuming and required a great deal of DNA, new methods like polymerase chain reaction and amplified fragment length polymorphism have been employed.The benefits of DNA testing are ample. In 1987, Colin Pitchfork became the first criminal to be caught as a result of DNA testing. The information provided with DNA tests has also helped wrongfully incarcerated people like Gary Dotson and Dennis Halstead reclaim their freedom.
An analysis of children's gene activity suggests that more severe forms of appendicitis can be distinguished from milder cases based on the activity of four genes.
The newly uncovered gene variants were identified as part of an analysis of the DNA of more than 400,000 people in the U.S. who agreed to participate in the All of Us Research Program.
Live Science spoke with biochemist Virginijus Šikšnys, whose work helped establish CRISPR as a gene-editing system.
Researchers discovered an example of convergent evolution in the Peruvian and Tibetan highlander communities.
Two new gene therapies show promise in treating otoferlin-related deafness, an inherited condition.
People of African ancestry have the highest rates of the most common form of glaucoma, so scientists are studying whether unique gene variants are tied to their risk.
Drug regulators have approved a CRISPR therapy called Casgevy to treat inherited blood disorders. But what is it and how does it work?
New research suggests that the risk of Europeans developing diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's stems from ancient human migrations.
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