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DNA and Knot Theory

By Lou Gross1, Monica Beals1, Susan Harrell1

University of Tennessee Knoxville

This module introduces knot theory in the context of understanding the packing of DNA. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Quantitative Biology at Community Colleges

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Version 1.0 - published on 15 Feb 2019 doi:10.25334/Q4HM9M - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

dnaknotfig1.gif dnaknotfig2.gif dnaknotfig3.gif dnaknotfig4.jpg dnaknotfig5.gif dnaknotfig6.gif


Student Introduction: DNA is the genetic material of all cells, containing coded information about cellular molecules and processes. DNA consists of two polynucleotide strands twisted around each other in a double helix. The first step in cellular division is to replicate DNA so that copies can be distributed to daughter cells. Additionally, DNA is involved in transcribing proteins that direct cell growth and activities. However, DNA is tightly packed into genes and chromosomes. In order for replication or transcription to take place, DNA must first unpack itself so that it can interact with enzymes.


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