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DNA Prefers to Dive Head First Into Nanopores

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, January 10, 2013
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When captured by a nanopore, a DNA strand is more likely to start the journey at one of its ends, rather than somewhere in the middle.

If you want to understand a novel, it helps to start from the beginning rather than trying to pick up the plot from somewhere in the middle. The same goes for analyzing a strand of DNA. The best way to make sense of it is to look at it head to tail. Luckily, according to a new study by physicists at Brown University, DNA molecules have a convenient tendency to cooperate.

The research, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, looks at the dynamics of how DNA molecules are captured by solid-state nanopores, tiny holes that soon may help sequence DNA at lightning speed. The study found that when a DNA strand is captured and pulled through a nanopore, it’s much more likely to start the journey at one of its ends, rather than being grabbed somewhere in the middle and pulled through in a folded configuration.

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