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DNA-cutting enzyme looks like scissors

Restriction enzymes slice DNA, dice it, and snip it just where you'd like. But wait, there's more! One of these DNA-omatics not only cuts like a pair of scissors, it looks like one too, report researchers in the February Nature Structural Biology.

Molecular biologists delight in determining the structure of restriction enzymes because they tend to have unique characteristics. "There are more than 3,000 of them . . . and each enzyme turns up its own surprises," says Aneel K. Aggarwal of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

He and his colleagues from Mount Sinai and New England Biolabs in Beverly, Mass., used X-ray crystallography to take molecular pictures of the restriction enzyme BglII in action. To do this they grew BglII molecules into a crystal and directed X-rays at it.

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