A glossary of DNA structures from A to Z

  • Ghosh A
  • Bansal M
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Abstract

The right-handed double-helical Watson-Crick model for B-form DNA is the most commonly known DNA structure. In addition to this classic structure, several other forms of DNA have been observed and it is clear that the DNA molecule can assume different structures depending on the base sequence and environment. The various forms of DNA have been identified as A, B, C etc. In fact, a detailed inspection of the literature reveals that only the letters F, Q, U, V and Y are now available to describe any new DNA structure that may appear in the future. It is also apparent that it may be more relevant to talk about the A, B or C type dinucleotide steps, since several recent structures show mixtures of various different geometries and a careful analysis is essential before identifying it as a 'new structure'. This review provides a glossary of currently identified DNA structures and is quite timely as it outlines the present understanding of DNA structure exactly 50 Years after the original discovery of DNA structure by Watson and Crick.

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