Everyone knows what the iconic right-handed helix of DNA looks like, with its inter-linking string of molecules forming a pleasing, gentle twist. But there’s more to the shape than meets the eye, and this video explains some of the mathematical secrets lurking within DNA.

Professor Mariel Vazquez from UC Davis describes the math behind the shape and structure of the strands, adding some numbers along the way for context. Did you know, for instance, that if you took the DNA from all the chromosones in the human body and strung them together, you’d have over 3 billion base pairs which would measure two meters in length? And that all that information is squeezed into cells that measure just 10 microns in size? There’s plenty more fascinating insights like that in the rest of the video — give it a watch.

[Numberphile]

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