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Cellular Contortionist

Can DNA easily get bent out of shape?

Even when biophysicist Paul Wiggins pursues his favorite sport, rock climbing, he doesn't leave his work behind. While struggling to untangle ropes—"one of the most frustrating aspects of climbing," he says—Wiggins envisions great lengths of DNA tangled inside cells. The mechanical properties, particularly the flexibility, of that biomolecule fascinate him.

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