, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 103–110 | Cite as

Beyond the code: the mechanical properties of DNA as they relate to mitosis

  • Kerry S. BloomEmail author


As students of mitosis, we seek to identify the DNA and protein components required for chromosome segregation and to design experiments in order to test our latest theory on how these components fit together. The identification of what is approaching a complete parts list has provided major advances in the past few years. The problem on the horizon is to understand how the parts fit together to segregate the complete genetic complement to daughter cells with the accuracy required to form complex organisms. Historically, science is guided by our observations, thus much of our intuition stems from how we interact with our environment. We make analogies based on our experiences and use these to help us begin to think about processes inside a cell. The problem lies in that life inside a cell is nothing like our life.

There are several physical concepts to consider as we delve into the life of a cell. One is the sense of scale. As we think small (i.e., micrometers), consider...


Sister Chromatid Chromosome Segregation Persistence Length Sister Centromere Kinetochore Microtubule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank Dr. Elaine Yeh, Dr. Jay Fisher, Rachael Bloom, Julian Haase, and Ben Harrison for discussion and critical comments on the manuscript and Julian Haase for artwork.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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