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'Clever' DNA may help bacteria survive

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Scientists have discovered that bacteria can reshape their DNA to survive dehydration.

The research, published today in the journal Journal of the Royal Society Interface, shows that bacterial DNA can change from the regular double helix ā€“ known as B-DNA, to the more compact A-DNA form, when faced with hostile conditions such as dehydration.

Crucially, scientists have pinpointed a unique process in DNA, called the B-A-B transition, which allows it to change its structure in response to environmental change. Without impacting on the ability of the bacteria to function and reproduce, this unique structural alteration sees the B-DNA change to A-DNA, and then revert back to its original B-DNA form to ensure the bacteria survive.

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