RNA double helix structure identified using synchrotron

August 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

When Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in 1953, their findings began a genetic revolution to map, study, and sequence the building blocks of living organisms.

DNA encodes the genetic material passed on from generation to generation. For the information encoded in the DNA to be made into the proteins and enzymes necessary for life, ribonucleic acid (RNA), single-stranded genetic material found in the ribosomes of cells, serves as intermediary. Although usually single-stranded, some RNA sequences have the ability to form a double helix, much like DNA.

In 1961, Alexander Rich along with David Davies, Watson, and Crick, hypothesized that the RNA known as poly (rA) could form a parallel-stranded double helix.

Fifty years later, scientists from McGill University successfully crystallized a short RNA sequence, poly (rA)11, and used data collected at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron to confirm the hypothesis of a poly (rA) double-helix.

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Entry filed under: Biotechnology News and Info from Canadian Universities. Tags: .

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