19 December 2006

Star of DNA Sighted

This picture of the day from Wikipedia (17 Dec) really struck me, so I used it to make a holiday greeting card this year. It's a molecule consisting of three long peptide chains arranged into a star shape with a circular inner ring. It evidently plays a clamp-like role as it travels along a DNA molecule during replication, sort of a zipper function, if I get it correctly. According to the article, the clamp speeds the rate at which the unzipping/zipping of DNA occurs by a large factor. So this star shaped molecule (one might say "snowflake-shaped") plays a key role in human reproduction. The coloration used by the molecular modeling software to generate this visualization struck me as festive as well, as did the loopy structure of the molecular strings.

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