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Scientists discover mechanisms behind thermoelectric material

Recently, a research group led by Prof. Zhang Yongsheng from the Institute of Solid State Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science successfully explained the novel physical mechanisms behind pyrite-type ZnSe2.

Scientists predict new, hard, and superhard ternary compounds

Scientists from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry (ISSC SB RAS), Pirogov Medical University and Yerevan State University have predicted new ...

Nanomaterials— short polymers, big impact

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have discovered a cost-effective way to significantly improve the mechanical performance of common polymer nanocomposite materials. The discovery could lead to stronger, more durable ...

How plastics could help build a sustainable future

The disposal of plastics is a global problem. They are nearly indestructible in natural conditions but are discarded worldwide on a large scale. The world produces around 359 million metric tons of plastics each year. Nature ...

Molecular forces: The surprising stretching behavior of DNA

When large forces act on a heavy beam, for example, in bridge construction, the beam will be slightly deformed. Calculating the relationship between forces, internal stresses and deformations is one of the standard tasks ...

Manifestation of quantum distance in flat band materials

The geometry of an object indicates its shape or the relationship of its parts to each other. Did you know that the electrons in solids also have geometric structures? In quantum mechanics, an electron in solids takes the ...

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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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