Physicists Confirm There’s a Second Layer of Information Hidden in Our DNA
We all learned in high school how Watson and Crick pieced together the findings of many scientists to come up with a model of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Information in DNA is stored as code sequences made up of nitrogenous bases. Each cell has the same sequence of codes but executes a different function. Code sequences determine the type of protein to be produced in a certain cell, but it is hypothesized that the mechanical properties of the DNA acts as a second layer of information.
Each cell in our body contains around 2 meters of DNA. But since our cells are so tiny, DNA strands have to be tightly wrapped into bundles called nucleosomes in order to fit.
The folding mechanism of DNA is believed to play a large role in how genes are read by the rest of the cell. Biologists have started to isolate mechanical cues that determine how DNA is folded. Now, theoretical physicists from Leiden University in the Netherlands confirmed through computer simulations that these cues are actually coded into our DNA.