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knitting with DNA

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Uploaded on Jan 8, 2008

By grabbing the ends of DNA with laser beams, one can make DNA do very unusual things. It is even possible to put a loop in a DNA molecule and slide it along a second DNA molecule, even though DNA and proteins are much too small to see with a microscope!

At VU University, Amsterdam, we use so-called "optical tweezers" to grab plastic beads with a
diameter of only a thousandth of a millimeter, that are visible under a microscope. The beads are caught in the
focal point of a focused laser-beam. By sticking the ends of two DNA molecule to such beads, they can bend,
twist and stretch the DNA anyway they like. This video demonstrates our DNA
gymnastics trick.

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