DNA structure: evidence from electron microscopy

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  11 Aug 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4355, pp. 525-527
DOI: 10.1126/science.663672


The contour lengths of phiX174 DNA duplex and RNA-DNA hybrid molecules were measured by several commonly used electron microscopic techniques. The countour length of the hybrid molecules corresponds to a rise of 2.5 to 2.6 angstroms per base pair, as expected for the A conformation, while the length of phiX174 duplex DNA similarly measured corresponds to a 2.9-angstrom rise, very different from 3.4 angstroms of the classic B form. Thus any chromatin structure parameter based on electron microscopy and a rise of 3.4 angstroms must be reappraised. The possibility that DNA in dilute solution also has a rise of 2.9 angstroms and a screw of 10.5 base pairs per turn is discussed.