Chapter 23.4 Nucleic acids

Crystallography of biological macromolecules

Second Online Edition (2012)

Part 23. Structural analysis and classification

  1. R. E. Dickerson

Published Online: 14 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1107/97809553602060000893

International Tables for Crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography

How to Cite

Dickerson, R. E. 2012. Nucleic acids. International Tables for Crystallography. F:23:23.4:766–799.

Author Information

  1. Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095–1570, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 APR 2012


This chapter covers the advances of our knowledge of nucleic acid duplexes, primarily from single-crystal X-ray diffraction, and the biological implications of this new knowledge. The focus is primarily on DNA because much more is known about it, but DNA/RNA hybrids and duplex RNA are also considered. Because the emphasis is on the geometry of the nucleic acid double helix, exotic structures, such as quadruplexes, hammerhead ribozymes and aptamers, are omitted, as are larger-scale structures such as tRNA.


  • A-tract bending;
  • B-DNA;
  • base pairing;
  • DNA;
  • glycosyl bond geometry;
  • helix parameters;
  • nucleic acids;
  • sugar ring conformations;
  • Watson–Crick Z-DNA