Understanding DNA

Understanding DNA

The Molecule and How It Works

2nd Edition - March 14, 1997

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  • Authors: Chris Calladine, Horace Drew
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080572529

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The Second Edition of Understanding DNA has been entirely revised and updated, and expanded by more than 50% to cover new advances. The book explains step-by-step how DNA forms specific structures, the nature of these structures, and how they fundamentally affect the biological processes of transcription and replication.The functional properties of any molecule are directly related to and affected by its structure; this is especially true for DNA, the molecule that carries the code for all life on earth. Written in a clear, concise, and at times lively fashion, Understanding DNA is essential reading for all molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics students, for newcomers to the field from such areas as physics or chemistry, and for even the most seasoned researchers who really want to understand DNA.

Key Features

@introbul:Key Features
@bul:* New edition, expanded by more than 50%
* Completely revised and updated
* Includes many additional and updated references
* Summarizes the recent studies of DNA in disease and medicine
* Contains more than 110 illustrations, some in full color
* Describes the basic units of DNA and how these form the double helix
* Characterizes the various types of DNA double helix that have been found
* Explains how and why DNA twists and curves
* Discusses the mechanisms of DNA supercoiling
* Summarizes the assembly of DNA and proteins into chromosomes
* Outlines the methods used to study DNA structure
Describes the latest work on protein-DNA complexes
* Contains simple exercises and further reading at the end of each chapter


Undergraduates and graduates in molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics; newcomers to the field and molecular biology researchers without a structural background; cell biologists and life scientists in general as usefulbackground information.

Table of Contents

  • An Introduction to Molecular Biology for Non-Scientists.
    Why a Helix?
    Different Kinds of Double Helix.
    Twisting and Curving.
    Curving in Three Dimensions.
    DNA Supercoiling.
    The Assembly of DNA into Chromosomes.
    Specific DNA-Protein Interactions.
    Methods Used to Study the Structure of DNA.
    DNA in Disease, Diagnostics, and Medicine.
    Notes on the Derivation of Some Technical Terms.
    The Chemical Theory of Base-Stacking Interactions in DNA.
    Answers to Selected Exercises.
    Subject Index.

Product details

  • No. of pages: 283
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1997
  • Published: March 14, 1997
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080572529

About the Authors

Chris Calladine

Chris Calladine is Professor of Structural Mechanics at the University of Cambridge. In addition to researching aspects of structural engineering, he has applied the methods of structural mechanics to the study of flagella and DNA.

Affiliations and Expertise

Dept. of Engineering, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Horace Drew

Horace Drew solved several of the first DNA crystal X-ray structures with Richard Dickerson at Caltech, and subsequently spent five years researching DNA and chromosome structures with Aaron Klug at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK He now lives in Australia and is a Principle Research Scientist at the CSIRO Division of Biomolecular Engineering in Sydney.

Affiliations and Expertise

CSIRO Division of Biotechnology, Sydney, Australia

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