Structure of DNA

How was the structure of DNA determined? An optical transform can be used to compare possible trial structures with the observed x-ray diffraction pattern from DNA. A pocket laser and masks mimic the process by which the architecture of DNA was determined.

How does the line segment slope affect the diffraction pattern?

How does the period to amplitude ratio of aligned helices affect the diffraction pattern?

Is DNA a single or double helix? If a double helix, what is the offset between strands (2/8, 3/8, or 4/8)?

How does the pattern change if more detail is added (phosphates and then base pairs)?

DNA double helix shown in two different representations. In the second half of the movie one strand is shaded for clarity.
Larger movie in a new window


Exploring the Nanoworld   |   MRSEC Nanostructured Interfaces
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This page created by George Lisensky, Beloit College.  Last modified July 25, 2008 .