double helix

Nature 421, 423-427 (23 January 2003) | doi:10.1038/nature01405

Ten years of tension: single-molecule DNA mechanics

Carlos Bustamante1,2, Zev Bryant1 & Steven B. Smith2


The basic features of DNA were elucidated during the half-century following the discovery of the double helix. But it is only during the past decade that researchers have been able to manipulate single molecules of DNA to make direct measurements of its mechanical properties. These studies have illuminated the nature of interactions between DNA and proteins, the constraints within which the cellular machinery operates, and the forces created by DNA-dependent motors.

  1. Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  2. Department of Physics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA

Correspondence to: Carlos Bustamante1,2 e-mail: Email:

Correspondence to: Zev Bryant1 e-mail: Email:

Correspondence to: Steven B. Smith2 e-mail: Email: