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New view reveals how DNA fits into cell

Map of 3-D structure of the entire human genome shows fractal folding is key

By
2:10pm, October 8, 2009

Cells are tidy packers, cramming DNA into nuclei to create a tangle-free, dense ball with pieces that are still accessible, researchers report October 9 in Science. The findings, based on a new three-dimensional view of the whole human genome, solve a long-standing biological mystery and may lead to a deeper understanding of how genes operate. 

Except during division, a human cell’s two meters of DNA is jammed into an area about a hundredth of a millimeter wide. But researchers had been puzzled by how cells could pack the DNA, which is organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes inside the nucleus, so tightly without hopelessly tangling it and making it impossibl

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