An elastic model of the large‐scale structure of duplex DNA

Craig J. Benham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


A general model for the large‐scale, time‐independent structure of duplex DNA is developed based on elastic considerations. The general conditions of elastic equilibrium are given. These equations are solved for the equilibrium shape of stressed duplex DNA, based on the assumption that the double helix behaves mechanically as a symmetric, linearly elastic rod. It is shown that, in general, two orders of superhelicity will arise at equilibrium. Several possible applications of this approach to the supercoiling of closed circular DNA are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-623
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1979
Externally publishedYes


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