Stretching DNA

John F. Marko*, Eric D. Siggia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1918 Scopus citations


A statistical mechanical treatment of the wormlike chain model (WLC) is used to analyze experiments in which double-stranded DNA, tethered at one end, is stretched by a force applied directly to the free end, by an electric field, or by hydrodynamic flow. All experiments display a strong-stretching regime where the end-to-end distance approaches the DNA contour length as l/(force)1/2, which is a clear signature of WLC elasticity. The elastic properties of DNA become scale dependent in the presence of electrostatic interactions; the effective electric charge and the intrinsic bending elastic constant are determined from experiments at low salt concentration. We also consider the effects of spontaneous bends and the distortion of the double helix by strong forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8759-8770
Number of pages12
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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