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No. 10: Spring 1980

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Dynamic Dna

Smugness over our discovery of the genetic code and some simple features of biological synthesis has recently been undermined by the recognition that the so-called nonsense segments in genes may be important after all. Now comes the realization that the DNA molecule may not be a staid, static construction. Travelling kinks and other disturbances seem to play some unknown role in biological recognition. Some biochemists have even suggested that DNA winds and unwinds or "breathes" like a living thing as it helps to manufacture biological substances.

(Spencer, Michael; "Bent DNA," Nature, 281:631, 1979.)

Comment. The addition of the time dimension to biological synthesis evokes thoughts of oscillating systems, frequency dependence, filters, etc. Perhaps Nature has invented something better than the silicon chip.

From Science Frontiers #10, Spring 1980. � 1980-2000 William R. Corliss