Sometimes referred to as ‘talking knots’, khipu – or knotted strings – were used by several Andean cultures, including the Inca, to record information. Similarly, knots in DNA can reveal a lot about the molecule’s 3D organisation. This property comes in handy since current structural biology methods do not allow direct in vivo insights into the 3D organization of replicating DNA. SIB Group Leader Andrzej Stasiak participated in an international study elucidating the structure of replicating DNA using knots. The study is published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

Quipo in the Museo Machu Picchu CCBY 

O’Donnol D, Stasiak A and Buck D. Two convergent pathways of DNA knotting in replicating DNA molecules as revealed by θ-curve analysis. Nucleid Acids Research