Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 2 – 2002

Sebastian Doniach, Applied Physics
Daniel Hershlag, Biochemistry

Nucleic acids play central roles in the storage, transmission and control of the genetic information. As nucleic acids are highly negatively charged biopolymers, understanding their electrostatic properties is a necessary step in a quantitative and comprehensive understanding of not only their association properties but also their structures and functions. In this research we have devised a very simple model system that allows us to obtain quantitative information on how the electrostatic forces acting between segments of DNA or RNA depend on the nature of the counterion atmosphere that surrounds them.