Polarized lasers zap dyed DNA into super resolution

DNA may be one of the most basic molecules of life, but it's not easy to study. Despite being a very long molecule, it's only about 2.2 nanometers wide, so it's hard to see. Attaching fluorescent dyes to it can help, but until now, knowing how those dye molecules were behaving wasn't possible. A team of scientists at Stanford University has built on a technique called "single-molecule microscopy" to see just how DNA-bound dye molecules orient themselves, flop around and glow in the presence of polarized laser light.Read More


Low-cost graphene-based biosensor chip detects DNA mutations in real time

One of the most common indicators of many diseases and cancer in blood is the presence of a genetic mutation known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Unfortunately, to date such tests for SNPs are slow, cumbersome and – above all – expensive. Now a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have developed a new graphene-based sensor that promises to deliver test results easily, in real time, and inexpensively. The researchers believe this could be a breakthrough in the early detection and screening for many life-threatening illnesses.Read More


Essential feature of life detected outside our solar system

A molecule that exhibits a specific property associated with all life on Earth has been discovered in interstellar space for the first time. Displaying the quality of chirality, or "handedness", this molecule has a distinct one-way molecular geometry found only in biological building blocks like amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. This discovery may help provide answers to the origins of homochirality, whereby all a substance's molecules are of the same chiral form, and why it appears so important for biology.Read More


Scientists confirm DNA holds a second layer of information

Everything that makes you you is in your DNA, but a long-time hypothesis suggests that you're not just a product of the genetic code itself, but also the mechanical cues that determine how that information folds up inside your cells. Now, theoretical physicists in the Netherlands have confirmed that this second layer of information does indeed exist.Read More


The world's tiniest thermometer is made from DNA

Researchers at the University of Montreal have created a thermometer that's an astonishing 20,000 times smaller than a single human hair. The work could lead to significant improvements in our understanding of how the human body functions on the nanoscale.Read More


DNA sequence behind muscle regeneration begins to unravel

Animals that regrow body parts like zebrafish and newts certainly function very differently to the way humans do, but we might one day be able to borrow some of these traits. A closer look at the mechanism driving these remarkable regenerative abilities has suggested that they could be recreated in mice, with the scientists involved hopeful it could ultimately improve our capacity to regrow damaged body parts.Read More


World's smallest diode made from a single DNA molecule

As electronic devices become ever more complex, and the densities of components in those devices increases exponentially, we are rapidly approaching the day when the limitations of Moore's Law will be realized. In an effort to avert this eventuality, research has concentrated on moving away from traditional silicon technologies and into the realms of molecule-sized components and alternative materials. In this vein, researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) and Ben-Gurion University in Israel have, for the first time, created a nanoscale electronic diode from a single DNA molecule.
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Genomic signature could lead to new early-detection cancer test

Detecting cancer when it's still in the early stages of development is a difficult task, but an extremely important one, with the chances of effective treatment being much higher the quicker it's caught. Now, a team of researchers from the National Institute of Health (NIH) has identified a signature of tumor DNA that occurs, and is detectable, in five different cancers – a discovery that could lead to a simple early detection blood test.Read More


Improved DNA tech could replace antibodies in detecting and treating diseases

A team of researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has worked to develop an efficient technology that uses DNA to detect and treat infectious diseases. Improving upon an existing method, the research makes use of single-stranded DNA molecules called aptamers, and it could be used to treat cancer.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

DNA analysis may provide early warning of breast cancer

It could be possible to look for molecular alternations in breast tissue to identify whether a patient is at risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has found. Scientists at University College London (UCL) looked at changes in patient DNA, finding clear evidence that epigenetic alterations play a part in the occurrence of the disease.Read More


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