Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA’s oscillating double helix hinders electrical conduction

11.09.2002


DNA has an oscillating double-helix structure. This oscillating means that the DNA molecules conduct electricity much less well than was previously thought. Ultrafast cameras were one of the devices the researchers from Amsterdam used to demonstrate this.



It turns out the DNA does not have a rigid regular structure as stated in textbooks. In reality the double helix of DNA forms a very dynamic chaotic system. The rigid structure in textbooks should be regarded as the average position of many structures taken over a period of time.

The Amsterdam researchers showed that the chaotic movements limit the electrical conductivity properties of DNA. Electrical conductivity, even if it is imperfect, is of vital importance for the cell. For example, the cell uses electrons from the charge transfer in DNA to repair damaged bonds.


According to the researchers the electrical conductivity would be much better if DNA had a fixed double-helix structure in which the individual building blocks were neatly stacked on top of each other.

The results have consequences for scientists who are developing new molecular microelectronics. In this sort of experimental electronics the DNA molecules would have to be able to initiate a range of reactions by means of charge transfer. The electronics specialists must now take the inefficient electrical conductivity of DNA into consideration.

The DNA examined by researchers included a piece of DNA with the form of a hair clip. It is similar to an important piece of RNA in the HIV virus. Researchers incorporated fluorescent molecule groups in a very specific manner. They then bombarded the piece of DNA with extremely short laser pulses. A special type of camera registered how the molecule fluoresced.

The experimental set-up of the Amsterdam researchers can observe movements or vibrations which occur in one millionth of a millionth of a second. Or put scientifically the set-up has a resolution of a picosecond. To put this into perspective: normal film cameras take 24 pictures per second and only detect the vibration if it lasts longer than 0.02 seconds.

Michel Philippens | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion
26.07.2017 | Penn State

nachricht New virus discovered in migratory bird in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
26.07.2017 | Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>