Related topics: graphene · carbon nanotube

Bending diamond is possible, at the nanoscale

Diamond is prized by scientists and jewelers alike, largely for a range of extraordinary properties including exceptional hardness. Now a team of Australian scientists has discovered diamond can be bent and deformed, at the ...

Scientists discover new non-sticky gels

Scientists from the University of Bristol and Université Paris-Saclay have discovered a new class of material—non-sticky gels.

Exploring tiny forces with single molecule force spectroscopy

In terms of space organization, DNA has powers rivaling Marie Kondo. A strand of DNA that is two meters long intricately folds itself into a cell nucleus only 10 microns across. (One of the hairs on your head has a diameter ...

Graphene takes off in composites for planes and cars

The Graphene Flagship brought together top European researchers and companies to discuss the most disruptive ways graphene could enhance composites used in the aerospace, automotive and energy industries. The multidisciplinary ...

Industrial bread dough kneaders could use physics-based redesign

Bakers have been crafting bread for more than 6,000 years with four simple ingredients: flour, salt, water and yeast. Apart from using high-quality ingredients, the kneading process and amount of time the dough is given to ...

Dietary fiber effectively purifies carbon nanotubes

A new, cheaper method easily and effectively separates two types of carbon nanotubes. The process, developed by Nagoya University researchers in Japan, could be upscaled for manufacturing purified batches of single-wall carbon ...

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DNA structure

DNA structure shows a variety of forms, both double-stranded and single-stranded. The mechanical properties of DNA, which are directly related to its structure, are a significant problem for cells. Every process which binds or reads DNA is able to use or modify the mechanical properties of DNA for purposes of recognition, packaging and modification. The extreme length (a chromosome may contain a 10 cm long DNA strand), relative rigidity and helical structure of DNA has led to the evolution of histones and of enzymes such as topoisomerases and helicases to manage a cell's DNA. The properties of DNA are closely related to its molecular structure and sequence, particularly the weakness of the hydrogen bonds and electronic interactions that hold strands of DNA together compared to the strength of the bonds within each strand.

Experimental techniques which can directly measure the mechanical properties of DNA are relatively new, and high-resolution visualization in solution is often difficult. Nevertheless, scientists have uncovered large amount of data on the mechanical properties of this polymer, and the implications of DNA's mechanical properties on cellular processes is a topic of active current research.

It is important to note the DNA found in many cells can be macroscopic in length - a few centimetres long for each human chromosome. Consequently, cells must compact or "package" DNA to carry it within them. In eukaryotes this is carried by spool-like proteins known as histones, around which DNA winds. It is the further compaction of this DNA-protein complex which produces the well known mitotic eukaryotic chromosomes.

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