Volume 89 Issue 23 | pp. 40-41
Issue Date: June 6, 2011

New Base On The Block

Discovery of a modified cytosine in DNA with possible roles from cancer to cognition triggers a new research field
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Stem Cells
Keywords: epigenetics, hydroxymethylcytosine, stem cells

Like most folks with a basic knowledge of genetics, you probably believe that life’s blueprint is based on just five components. Namely, DNA’s four bases—adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine—and the periodically methylated cytosine bases that help silence genes so that a heart cell doesn’t produce toenails and puberty doesn’t hit a toddler.

It turns out that you, along with a battery of geneticists, biochemists, and textbook writers, may have missed an important genetic base. As . . .

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