[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Molecule study aids cancer fight
DNA molecule
Scientists applied barely detectable forces to the molecules
Scientists in Dundee have become among the first in the world to observe the effect of forces on DNA molecules as human cells divide.

Researchers used lasers to examine the miniscule shape changes caused by tugging on the fragments.

They wanted to find out how DNA in chromosomes is held together when cells split apart.

The study was aimed at better understanding cell division, which can be used in the fight against cancer.

The research team used laser light beams to apply barely detectable mechanical forces to the molecules, which are about a millionth of a millimetre in size.

The nature of the resulting fluorescent glow enable the scientists to determine the effect.

Physicists only recently developed ways of measuring such tiny forces.

Professor David Lilley from the University of Dundee said: "These weak forces are actually more relevant to biology than larger ones, so the new approach is telling scientists a lot about how DNA molecules react to mechanical force.

"This is providing a greater understanding of very basic processes involved during cell division."

This work is the result of five years of collaboration between Professor Lilley and Professor Taekjip Ha at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Scientists hail DNA repair study
17 Oct 07 |  Tayside and Central
Major cancer research cash boost
18 Sep 07 |  Tayside and Central
Researchers discuss genetic links
02 Sep 07 |  Tayside and Central
Funding for research on parasites
16 Aug 07 |  Tayside and Central
Schizophrenia drug 'kills cancer'
02 Aug 07 |  Tayside and Central
Life sciences 1bn economic boost
20 May 07 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific