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Scientists have determined just how stretchy DNA is

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All over your body, lengths of DNA are constantly being bent, wrapped, rent apart, and sealed back together. Scientists have long assumed that the dynamic nature of DNA would also imply that it possesses some degree of "stretchiness," but efforts to determine the stretching force constant of our biological blueprint have turned up incredibly varied results.

But now, it would appear that researchers at the Institute Laue-Langevin have not only worked out precisely how stretchy DNA is (with a force constant of 83 newtons per meter...that's apparently about as stretchy as nylon), they've also managed to explain why previous values were so varied.

You can read all about how they did it in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters, or head on over to WIRED for Olivia Solon's excellent explanation of the researchers' process.


Top image via dream designs/Shutterstock