Understanding DNA, 3rd Edition

The Molecule and How it Works

Understanding DNA, 3rd Edition,Chris Calladine,Horace Drew,Ben Luisi,Andrew Travers,ISBN9780121550899

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Academic Press




244 X 172

An easily comprehendible explaination of the structure and function of DNA.

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Key Features

* Describes the basic units of DNA and how these form the double helix, and the various types of DNA double helix
* Outlines the methods used to study DNA structure
* Contains over 130 illustrations, some in full color, as well as exercises and further readings to stimulate student comprehension


The functional properties of any molecule are directly related to, and affected by, its structure. This is especially true for DNA, the molecular that carries the code for all life on earth.

The third edition of Understanding DNA has been entirely revised and updated, and expanded to cover new advances in our understanding. It explains, step by step, how DNA forms specific structures, the nature of these structures and how they fundamentally affect the biological processes of transcription and replication.

Written in a clear, concise and lively fashion, Understanding DNA is essential reading for all molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics students, to newcomers to the field from other areas such as chemistry or physics, and even for seasoned researchers, who really want to understand DNA.


Advanced undergraduate and graduate students in molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics. Also of interest to researchers in related areas seeking a background to molecular biology.

Chris Calladine

Chris Calladine is Professor of Structural Mechanics at the University of Cambridge. In addition to researching aspects of structural engineering, he has applied the methods of structural mechanics to the study of flagella and DNA.

Affiliations and Expertise

Dept. of Engineering, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Horace Drew

Horace Drew solved several of the first DNA crystal X-ray structures with Richard Dickerson at Caltech, and subsequently spent five years researching DNA and chromosome structures with Aaron Klug at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK He now lives in Australia and is a Principle Research Scientist at the CSIRO Division of Biomolecular Engineering in Sydney.

Affiliations and Expertise

CSIRO Division of Biotechnology, Sydney, Australia

Ben Luisi

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Andrew Travers

Affiliations and Expertise

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Understanding DNA, 3rd Edition

An Introduction to Molecular Biology for Non-Scientists
Why a Helix?
Different Kinds of Double Helix
Twisting and Curving
Curving in Three Dimensions
DNA Supercoiling
The Assembly of DNA intor Chromosomes
Specific DNA-Protein Interactions
Methods Used to Study the Structure of DNA
DNA in Disease, Diagnostics and Medicine
Cytosine Methylation and DNA Epigenetics
Appendix 1: Notes on the Derivation of Some Technical Terms
Appendix 2: The Chemical Theory of Base-stacking Interactions in DNA
Appendix 3: How to modify Gene Expression by means of Anti-sense Oligonucleotides, Ribozymes or si-RNA

Quotes and reviews

Praise for previous editions:
"Stylish...beautifully crafted, with a logical step-by-step approach to the subject. A book from which the advanced undergraduate will benefit and which will also generate a refreshing perspective for experts"

"Understanding DNA is a great book that will surely prove to be a valuable teaching tool."

"A systematic and comprehensive analysis of the structure of DNA from a wonderfully fresh perspective."
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