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New bioinspired glue bonds any surface underwater

Underwater adhesion is technically challenging because of the presence of water, the worst enemy for any glue. Now, scientists from Wageningen University & Research have developed an injectable adhesive able to bond to many ...

Engineers uncover strength, toughness of hexagonal boron nitride

From smartphones that bend to solar panels that wrap around houses, flexible electronics could make consumers very happy. But first, someone has to figure out how to make them. One important question is which materials are ...

New reactor-liner alloy material offers strength, resilience

A new tungsten-based alloy developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory can withstand unprecedented amounts of radiation without damage. Essential for extreme irradiation environments such as the interiors of magnetic fusion ...

Researchers engineer a tougher fiber

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material that could be incorporated into soft robotics, packaging ...

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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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