Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
Adenine (A) is one of four chemical bases in DNA, with the other three being cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). Within the DNA molecule, adenine bases located on one strand form chemical bonds with thymine bases on the opposite strand. The sequence of four DNA bases encodes the cell's genetic instructions. A form of adenine called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) serves as an energy storage molecule and is used to power many chemical reactions within the cell.
Adenine is one of the four building blocks of DNA. It's the A of the A, C, G, and T that's in DNA. Adenine has the property that, when it's in the double helix, it is always found opposite of thymine, so adenine and thymine pair one on each strand. Adenine is also used elsewhere in the cell, not just in DNA and RNA, but it's part of the molecule adenosine triphosphate, which is the energy source for the cell. So adenine plays a dual role in the cell: it's used for building DNA and RNA, but it's also used at storing energy in the cell.
Name: Lawrence C. Brody, Ph.D.
Occupation: Chief & Senior Investigator, Genome Technology Branch; Head, Molecular Pathogenesis Section
Biography: Dr. Brody investigates the genetics of breast cancer and neural tube defects. As chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch's Molecular Pathogenesis section, he is interested in studying genetic mutations that lead to perturbations in normal metabolic pathways and cause disorders such as cancer and birth defects. His laboratory investigates mutations in two breast cancer-linked genes, breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2). Dr. Brody's laboratory was among the first to report that women carrying BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer than women without such mutations.