The Mathematics of DNA Sturcture, Mechanics, and Dynamics

  • David SwigonEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the The IMA Volumes in Mathematics and its Applications book series (IMA, volume 150)


A brief review is given of the main concepts, ideas, and results in the fields of DNA topology, elasticity, mechanics and statistical mechanics. Discussion in- cludes the notions of the linking number, writhe, and twist of closed DNA, elastic rod models, sequence-dependent base-pair level models, statistical models such as helical worm-like chain and freely jointed chain, and dynamical simulation procedures. Experimental methods that lead to the development of the models and the implications of the models are also discussed. Emphasis is placed on illustrating the breadth of approaches and the latest developments in the field, rather than the depth and completeness of exposition.

Key words

DNA topology elasticity mechanics statistical mechanics stretching 


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The author wishes to express his thanks to Zuzana Swigonova for careful proofreading of the manuscript and numerous suggestions. Much of this work was written during a stimulating one semester visit at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, University of Minnesota. Support by A.P. Sloan Fellowship and NSF grant DMS-05-16646 is also acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of Pittsburgh, The work was supported by Institute for Math-ematics and its Applications (IMA), Alfred P SLoan Fellowship and NSF Grant DMS 0516646PittsburghUSA

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