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Saturday, January 26, 2008

DNA display telepathy

DNA molecules can display what almost seems like telepathy, research now reveals.

Double helixes of DNA can recognize matching molecules from a distance and then gather together, all seemingly without help from any other molecules, scientists find. Previously, under the classic understanding of DNA, scientists had no reason to suspect that double helixes of the molecule could sort themselves by type, let alone seek each other out.

The spiraling structure of DNA includes strings of molecules called bases. Each of its four bases, commonly known by the letters A, T, C and G, is chemically attracted to a specific partner — A likes binding to T, and C to G. The scheme binds paired strands of DNA into the double helix the molecule is famous for.

Scientists investigated double-stranded DNA tagged with fluorescent compounds. These molecules were placed in saltwater that contained no proteins or other material that could interfere with the experiment or help the DNA molecules communicate.

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