By considering the detailed structure of DNA in the base pair level, two possible definitions of the persistence length are compared. One definition is related to the orientation of the terminal base pairs, and the other is based on the vectors which connect two adjacent base pairs at each end of the molecule. It is shown that although these definitions approach each other for long DNA molecules, they are dramatically different on short length scales. We show analytically that the difference mostly comes from the shear flexibility of the molecule and can be used to measure the shear modulus of DNA.
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