Biopolymers and the fellowship of DNA rings


  • James C. Wang

    Corresponding authorCurrent affiliation:
    1. Mallinckrodt Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    • Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
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  • This article was originally published online as an accepted preprint. The “Published Online” date corresponds to the preprint version. You can request a copy of the preprint by emailing the Biopolymers editorial office at

Correspondence to: James C. Wang; e-mail:


This article presents a brief account of the historical backdrop of the study of interlocked DNA rings (DNA catenanes), their formation in cells, and the importance of resolving the component rings of an intracellular DNA catenane if they are to be properly partitioned into a pair of progeny cells. In humans, for example, aberrant segregation of intertwined chromosomes is a major cause of birth defects, as well as termination of pregnancy in utero. Some yet unresolved issues of DNA catenation, including plausible structural and/or functional roles of DNA interlacing in chromosomes, are briefly mentioned. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 99: 916–922, 2013.