UEA discovers DNA can be changed with oxygen

DNA takes the form of a double helix but researchers at the UEA have discovered a way to change it..

DNA takes the form of a double helix but researchers at the UEA have discovered a way to change it.. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The shape of DNA can be changed with a range of triggers including copper and oxygen according to research from the University of East Anglia.

UEA - University of East Anglia.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

UEA - University of East Anglia.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The structure of DNA is widely accepted to exist as a double helix, but different DNA structures can also be made.

It was previously known that DNA could be changed using acid, which causes it to fold up. This can be used as a switch for on and off in DNA nano-machines and using copper salts will cause DNA to change into a hairpin shape.

Lead researcher Dr Zoe Waller from UEA's School of Pharmacy said: 'The potential changes in shape can be used as on/off switches for logic gates in DNA computing. Our findings could also be used in nanotechnology, or to change the properties of materials such as gels.'

Her new findings show that other triggers, including oxygen and a substance similar to Vitamin C, can also change its shape.

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