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DNA Softer Than Previously Thought
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DNA Softer Than Previously Thought

July 27, 2010
The double helix of DNA has been thought to behave as a stiff elastic rod. However, current research has shown it is much softer than previously thought. The rungs of the DNA's ladder, or base pairs, can compress or elongate, coming up to 10 percent closer or farther apart than the average. Most surprisingly, scientists found that if a base pair has compressed, the base pairs for at least the next two turns of the double helix are more likely to be compressed as well. Because this study--by a team of Stanford University scientists, supported in part by the National Science Foundation--has shown that regions of DNA affect neighboring regions, this might mean that proteins binding to DNA communicate at greater molecular distances than previously thought.


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