Related topics: graphene · carbon nanotube

New connector for sustainable structures on Earth and in space

As part of his Master's degree in civil engineering, an EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) student developed a connector for use in building sustainable structures. His initial project has expanded into an online ...

Superflimsy graphene turned ultrastiff by optical forging

Graphene is an ultrathin material characterized by its ultrasmall bending modulus, superflimsiness. Now the researchers at the Nanoscience Center of the University of Jyväskylä have demonstrated how an experimental technique ...

Researchers seek deeper understanding of how cells operate

Cells sense and respond to the mechanical properties of the cellular microenvironment in the body. Changes in these properties, which occur in a number of human pathologies, including cancer, can elicit abnormal responses ...

Spintronics: Improving electronics with finer spin control

Spintronics is an emerging technology for manufacturing electronic devices that take advantage of electron spin and its associated magnetic properties, instead of using the electrical charge of an electron, to carry information. ...

Scientists see chemical short-range order in medium-entropy alloy

Chinese scientists have made direct observations of face-centered cubic VCoNi (medium)-entropy alloys (MEA) and for the first time proposed a convincing identification of subnanoscale chemical short-range order (CSRO). This ...

Crystal structure prediction of multi-elements random alloy

Alchemy, which attempted to turn cheap metals such as lead and copper into gold, has not yet succeeded. However, with the development of alloys in which two or three auxiliary elements are mixed with the best elements of ...

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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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