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DNA

This tag is associated with 16 posts

Cracking the code

Every year, thousands of children are born with health problems that are caused by changes to their DNA sequence, or genetic code. These changes might have been inherited from their parents, who are often unaffected themselves, and therefore have no idea of what they might be passing on to their children – and therefore, understandably, … Continue reading

How super is a super-enhancer?

Over the past few years, a fierce debate has raged on amongst geneticists about whether the enticingly named ‘super-enhancer’, a region of the DNA proposed to have essential functions in controlling how a cell works, actually exists. Last month, a study by a team of scientists in Doug Higgs’ lab at the WIMM finally took … Continue reading

Dealing with damaged DNA

The DNA inside your cells is under an enormous amount of strain, every second of the day. It is constantly being pulled, twisted, folded, squashed and stretched – and all it wants to do is carry on doing its absolutely essential job of keeping you alive. In patients with Fanconi anaemia, a form of blood … Continue reading

DNA origami: how do you fold a genome?

Inside each of the cells in your body is an entire instruction manual containing all the information required to build an entire human being. Yet it isn’t just the words in that manual that are important: you have to read the right chapters, and in the right order. To build one particular part of a … Continue reading

Personalised medicine: hope or hype?

The idea that the information contained in your personal DNA sequence could be used to develop treatments that are specifically tailored to you is a hot topic in medical research, but how likely is it that this will ever become a reality? A recent collaborative study, involving scientists from the WIMM and many others across … Continue reading

How do you fix broken blood?

Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anaemia (CDA) is a rare disease that causes insufficient production of red blood cells. This means that the body is unable to carry enough oxygen around to its vital organs, resulting in dizziness, chest pain, tiredness and shortness of breath. In severe cases, patients are dependent on regular blood transfusions for life. In … Continue reading

Beyond the double helix

So, DNA. It’s a code; it’s made up of four letters, and it’s essential for life. Scientists worked out the sequence of the entire human genome about a decade ago (that’s all the DNA code in your body) so what else is there to know? A lot, says Barbara Xella – it turns out DNA … Continue reading

Why one cell is better than 40,000,000,000,000

Your body is a mass of millions and millions of tiny building blocks called cells, which all work together seamlessly on a daily basis in order to allow you to eat, drink, sleep, work, consume caffeine and perform all other essential bodily functions. A major outstanding question in the biological sciences is how these cells … Continue reading

The United Kingdom – the first country to have a detailed map of the genetic distribution of its people

The United Kingdom boasts a colourful history of wars, invasions, and both immigration and emigration of many, many different people. Archaelogists and historians can tell us much about how the Romans, Vikings, Normans and many others impacted the lives of the native Britons who lived here – but how are these historical events reflected in … Continue reading

Micro by name; mighty in nature

Each individual cell in our body has its own specific set of instructions that allow it to execute a particular task – like ensuring a red blood cell can carry oxygen, and a nerve cell can detect pain. By definition, these sets of instructions must be wildly different between various cell types – but how … Continue reading

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