• Question: hello ^^ , what are the main different shapes of the DNA you talked about ?

    Asked by chiara to Ben on 26 Nov 2020.
    • Photo: Ben Lewis

      Ben Lewis answered on 26 Nov 2020:


      Hi, thanks for this great question! DNA can actually make lots of different shapes that scientists can play with in the lab, but in the conditions which exist inside our cells the main structure is the famous double helix called B-DNA. When they were trying to work out this structure, they also found another structure which is also a double helix, called A-DNA, which forms when you dry DNA out. More recently, we have found that DNA can also make a four-stranded structure – this is called a G-Quadruplex and it’s very interesting because people were surprised to find it could happily form inside the conditions of your cells, so it might play an important role in the way our cells work. Hopefully I’ll be able to find out more about that! There are also other structures some people are interested in, like three-stranded triplex structures or a different four-stranded structure called an i-motif. Whilst the double helix is still the DNA shape that most of our DNA will look like, t turns out that the shape of our DNA might be a lot more complicated than we once thought!

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