Physical models for exploring dna topology

Nadrian C. Seeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two types of physical models have been developed for treating DNA molecules whose topology is of interest The two model motifs combine jacks-and-straws molecular representations with flexible tubing in different proportions. Both motifs present a low-resolution construct of DNA that retains helix axes, strand individuality and the distinguishabiity of the major and minor grooves. Molecules whose double helix axes are branched are modelled by stiff double helices and flexible branch sites. Supercoiled and knotted DNA molecules are modelled on a smaller scale, in a system in which a flexible backbone is supported by a series of stiff helical struts; removal of this scaffolding immediately reveals the linking of the strands. The models are light and easy to construct. They may be used either for demonstrations or as a research tool that assists the interpretation data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1004
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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