New DNA structure

For the first time scientists have been able to determine the structure of tiny circles of DNA – and they have found it is much more diverse and complex than they imagined. The famous Watson-Crick double helix depicts the structure of DNA of 12 base pairs, now scientists in Leeds and Texas have determined the structure of tiny circles of DNA which have 300 base pairs. Dr Sarah A. Harris tells us more about her research published in the journal Nature Communications.

(Image caption: Images show the atomic structure of the DNA calculated with the supercomputer simulations (in colour) superimposed upon the cryo-electron tomography data (in white). You can see what the familiar double helix looks like when it has been twisted into a figure 8 super-helix structure – credit: Thana Sutthibutpong)


Irobalieva RN, Fogg JM, Catanese DJ, Sutthibutpong T, Chen M, Barker AK, Ludtke SJ, Harris SA, Schmid MF, Chiu W, Zechiedrich L. (2015) Structural Diversity of supercoiled DNA. Nature Comm [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

Source – BBC World Service