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I am a mathematics grad student researching knot theory, and I've recently discovered that there is a connection between knot theory and DNA structure (if I understand correctly, when DNA strands repackage, they do it in a way similar to what is known as Skein relations in knot theory, therefore tools from knot theory can be applied to DNA research).

The problem is that I have almost no background in biology, therefore it is difficult for me to understand how exactly DNA repackages and what happens on the molecular level.

Could anyone suggest some basic (and preferably not too long) text which gives an introduction to the structure of DNA? I have some basic background in organic chemistry, and I am not really looking to understand the topic thoroughly, just to visualize what's going on so I could see the analogy to the mathematical theory.

Thanks in advance!

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I found this thesis online. For an introduction to the DNA look at paragraph 1.3 – Mattia Rovetta Oct 2 '13 at 22:29

this is a special topic, I'm assuming you have looked over the basic Watson and Crick stuff.

Maybe closer to your interests DNA does tangle and needs constant maintenance of the amount of winding to keep it properly ordered.

I would look at topoisomerases and DNA origami to start with.

Topoisomerases are a class of enzymes that help DNA pack up and wind up into the compact forms of the chromosome when its wound into solenoids in chromatin and unwind into the looser forms when it is loose.

DNA origami is a field of study which uses DNA as a self assembling template for making three dimensional structures.

Maybe this helps? let me know if we can narrow the specifics of your interests.

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We could help you more if you explained how DNA is similar to Skein relations or, conversely, explain what Skein relations are so we can understand how they're similar to DNA.

As always, the best and most accessible resource will be a university text book. I would recommend Alberts, as I recall, it explains this topic quite well.

If you're after something a bit more visual, I found some nice ones (click on an image to be taken to its source):

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