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Studies Begin to Shape New Image of DNA

Most of us carry a mental picture of DNA in its iconic form – the famous double helix unveiled by Francis Crick and James Watson. But researchers are beginning to develop a new picture of DNA that shows the molecule’s more dynamic side, which is capable of morphing into a large number of complex shapes. This shape-shifting ability permits proteins to attach and read the right region of DNA so genes can be turned on or off at the proper time.

The findings show that proteins are adept at reading nuances in the shape of the double helix. Those variations in shape transmit information about where proteins need to bind to make sure the right genes are activated or silenced during development.
 
 

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