Model showing supercoiling of DNA, Cambridge, before 1988
We are normally used to seeing DNA modelled as a double helix. This model shows the ‘supercoiling’ of DNA. Supercoiling means that the double helix structure has become twisted into a tighter coil, storing the genetic material in a very small space. It can twist in a clockwise or an anticlockwise direction. The model was made by the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge University.
Related Themes and Topics
Glossary: model - representation
Use for a scaled representation of an object or structure, usually three-dimensional. The item is often idealised or modified to make it conceptually easier to understand.
DNA stores the information, or blueprints, of every cell and is located in the genes. It is made up of two strands which form a double helix that is linked by hydrogen bonds. It was first described in 1953 by Francis Crick and James Watson.
A form of DNA where the double helix is twisted further around itself. This generally occurs in nature to allow the DNA to condense into living cells.