Related topics: graphene · carbon nanotube

Crystalline 'artificial muscle' makes paper doll do sit-ups

Scary movies about dolls that can move, like Anabelle and Chucky, are popular at theaters this summer. Meanwhile, a much less menacing animated doll has chemists talking. Researchers have given a foil "paper doll" the ability ...

Recycled mortars for building construction

A study carried out by researchers from the School of Building at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has shown how mineral wool waste can be a suitable alternative to the reinforced fibers currently used in building ...

Research team brings computation and experimentation closer together

A bioengineering group from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering is bringing the worlds of computational modeling and experimentation closer together by developing a methodology to help analyze the wealth ...

Electron beam strengthens recyclable nanocomposite

Polymers reinforced with carbon fibers combine strength and low weight. They also boast significant green credentials as they are less resource-intensive during production and use, and they are readily recycled. While the ...

Hard carbon nanofiber aerogel becomes superelastic

Conductive and compressible carbon aerogels are useful in a variety of applications. In recent decades, carbon aerogels have been widely explored by using graphitic carbons and soft carbons, which show advantages in superelasticity. ...

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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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