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Changing Structure Of DNA

We all have accepted the shape of DNA as a double helix but DNA’s various other shapes and structures also exist. A new research has been published states that a DNA can manipulate its shape. Dr. Zoe Waller, A lead researcher from UEA’s School of Pharmacy said,”DNA is a genetic material and its structure usually looks like a twisted ladder.” This discovery included nanotechnology where DNA aids in making tiny machines and in DNA based computers the DNA is used to built them instead of silicon.

Dr. Waller’s previous research portrayed that the structure of DNA can be changed into an another structure called a hairpin with the help of copper salts. Later, this change can be reversed with the help of Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid which is commonly found in shampoo and other household goods.

Whereas, her new findings tell that Oxygen, a substance similar to Vitamin C can also affect the DNA shape.


Copper salts were added to DNA in oxygen free conditions to change the shape to an I-motif and by exposing the I-motif to oxygen in the air, it changed from an I-motif to hairpin. The shape can be reversed from a hairpin to I-motif by adding sodium ascorbate which is similar to Vitamin C and back to normal state using a chelating agent.

This research was funded by Eastern Academic Research Consortium and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


By: Swati Kaushal