Feb 07, 2011
From the University of Michigan News Service: DNA Cought Rock 'n' Rollin'
DNA, that marvelous, twisty molecule of life, has an alter ego, research at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Irvine reveals.
On rare occasions, its building blocks "rock and roll," deforming the familiar double helix into a different shape.
"We show that the simple DNA double helix exists in an alternative form—for one percent of the time—and that this alternative form is functional," said Hashim M. Al-Hashimi, who is the Robert L. Kuczkowski Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biophysics at U-M. "Together, these data suggest that there are multiple layers of information stored in the genetic code." The findings were published online Jan. 26 in the journal Nature.