4. Structures of DNA and Knot Theory

  1. Matthew He1 and
  2. Sergey Petoukhov2

Published Online: 12 OCT 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470904640.ch4

Mathematics of Bioinformatics: Theory, Practice, and Applications

Mathematics of Bioinformatics: Theory, Practice, and Applications

How to Cite

He, M. and Petoukhov, S. (2010) Structures of DNA and Knot Theory, in Mathematics of Bioinformatics: Theory, Practice, and Applications, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470904640.ch4

Author Information

  1. 1

    Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

  2. 2

    Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 OCT 2010
  2. Published Print: 17 DEC 2010

Book Series:

  1. Bioinformatics: Computational Techniques and Engineering

Book Series Editors:

  1. Yi Pan and
  2. Albert Y. Zomaya

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470404430

Online ISBN: 9780470904640

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Keywords:

  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) structure;
  • knot theory

Summary

This chapter provides an introduction to the structures of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); key elements of knot theory, such as links, tangles, and knot polynomials; and applications of knot theory to the study of closed circular DNA. The physical and chemical properties of this type of DNA can be explained in terms of basic characteristics of the linking number, which is invariant under continuous deformation of the DNA structure and is the sum of two geometric quantities, twist and writhing. Geneticists have discovered that DNA can form knots and links that can be described mathematically. By understanding knot theory more completely, scientists are becoming more able to comprehend the massive complexity involved in the life and reproduction of the cell. In particular, recent developments in polynomial invariants for links and knots have been used to describe the structure of DNA and to characterize the action of recombinases.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

bioinformatics; DNA