Left-Handed, Complementary Double Helices—A Heresy? The Z-DNA Family

  • Wolfram Saenger
Part of the Springer Advanced Texts in Chemistry book series (SATC)


Guided by X-ray fiber diagrams of DNA and RNA double helices, molecular models with right-handed screw sense were developed. Because this experimental evidence cannot, per se, distinguish between image/mirror image or right/left-handed screw molecules, in the past serious doubts as to the DNA double-helical structure have been raised (107–114). Moreover, theoretical considerations suggested that the nucleotide unit in its standard conformation can be fitted into a left-handed double-helical screw with Watson-Crick-type base-pairing (380, 383). Only in recent years has the right-handed screw structure been fully supported by means of single-crystal X-ray studies on oligonucleotides (Sections 10.4, 11.2) and tRNA (Chapter 15).


Circular Dichroism Spectrum Double Helix Helix Axis Pitch Height Anti Conformation 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfram Saenger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für KristallographieFreie UniversitätFederal Republic of Germany

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