Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

DNA question

  1. Aug 16, 2005 #1
    the dna is made up be a double helix, but would it be possible to have a tripple helix? if so what would the advantage be and what disadvantages does exist? ive been thinking on this and have come nowhere exept it would be fun to see it cause we dont have it.

    and is it possible to create (theoretical on paper) base pairs we dont have that could acctualy work(theoretical)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2005 #2
    yes. put an additional nucleic acid on the 1 carbon of the ribose for the middle strand. whether this would work in reality is another matter, since your inner core of the cylinder would most likely be hydrated.

    linus pauling originally (and mistakenly) thought that DNA was a triple helix.
  4. Aug 16, 2005 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    oh hey zelos, I didn't know you joined.
  5. Aug 16, 2005 #4
    The triple helix has been known to exist in transient situations. Whenever DNA recombination occurs such as in crossing over during gamete fertilization, aided by enzymes such as recombinases and invertases, and possibly during replication and transcription occurs.

    As for the artificial base pairs... if you can make basepairs that can interact in the same manner with the various enzymes and biomolecules that chemically "touch" the DNA for information, then you can replace the base pairs we have now with no consequences. This, however, is not very likely because I suspect that every fraction of an angstrom of the DNA molecule is dynamically positioned in such a precise way.
  6. Aug 17, 2005 #5
    Zelos, I asked my biology teacher if there was such a helix that existed naturally. He told me if I could find one then I'd be looking at a Nobel Prize in Biology. I guess he didn't know about the transient situations Quasi just mentioned.

    Quasi, what would an example of one of those situations be?

    What would the advantages of such a helix be? Wouldn't that be fun to decode! :bugeye:

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook