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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

DNA seen directly through a microscope for the first time

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(DNA-molecule3image by Ynse, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Researchers have been able to view a strand of DNA through an electron microscope by stringing it between microscopic silicon pillars.

Previously, the DNA helix could only be viewed by x-ray crystallography — a technique that throws x-rays at a crystallised strand of DNA, and constructs an image from the reflected rays. It's fiddly and can be imprecise, because it involves a lot of guesswork.

That's why this new technique is so exciting. Using an electron microscope, the head of the Nanostructures Department at the University of Genoa, Enzo di Fabrizio, has been able to look directly at the strand itself.

The DNA strand stretched between two pillars (left) and close-up (right).
(Credit: Enzo di Fabrizio)

In this way, researchers will be able to examine DNA in greater detail, as well as how it interacts with proteins and RNA.

The paper, "Direct Imaging of DNA Fibers: The Visage of Double Helix", can be purchased here.


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KarlJ posted a comment   

Thanks Michelle, very interesting.Fortunately work lets me access the full paper too. Isn't it amazing what CNET-AU brings us? :-)


AlexV1 posted a comment   

That's cool.Interesting to see what comes from it.

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