Nucleic acid double helix

In molecular biology, the term double helix[1] refers to the structure formed by double-stranded molecules of nucleic acids such as DNA. The double helical structure of a nucleic acid complex arises as a consequence of its secondary structure, and is a fundamental component in determining its tertiary structure. The term entered popular culture with the publication in 1968 of The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA,by James Watson

The DNA double helix polymer of nucleic acid, held together by nucleotides which base pair together.[2] In B-DNA, the most common double helical structure found in nature, the double helix is right-handed with about 10–10.5 base pairs per turn.[3] The double helix structure of DNA contains a major groove and minor groove. In B-DNA the major groove is wider than the minor groove.[2] Given the difference in widths of the major groove and minor groove, many proteins which bind to B-DNA do so through the wider major groove.[4]


The double-helix model of DNA structure was first published in the journal Nature by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953,[5] (X,Y,Z coordinates in 1954[6]) based upon the crucial X-ray diffraction image of DNA labeled as "Photo 51", from Rosalind Franklin in 1952,[7] followed by her more clarified DNA image with Raymond Gosling,[8][9] Maurice Wilkins, Alexander Stokes, and Herbert Wilson,[10] and base-pairing chemical and biochemical information by Erwin Chargaff.[11][12][13][14][15][16] The prior model was triple-stranded DNA.[17]

The realization that the structure of DNA is that of a double-helix elucidated the mechanism of base pairing by which genetic information is stored and copied in living organisms and is widely considered one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century. Crick, Wilkins, and Watson each received one third of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their contributions to the discovery.[18] (Franklin, whose breakthrough X-ray diffraction data was used to formulate the DNA structure, died in 1958, and thus was ineligible to be nominated for a Nobel Prize.)

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Dubbele heliks
Alemannisch: Doppelhelix
български: Двойна спирала
català: Doble hèlix
čeština: Dvoušroubovice
Deutsch: Doppelhelix
español: Doble hélice
français: Double hélice
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Sûng-kú lò-sièn
한국어: 이중 나선
italiano: Doppia elica
Kreyòl ayisyen: Doub elis
Bahasa Melayu: Heliks ganda
Nederlands: Dubbele helix
日本語: 二重らせん
português: Dupla hélice
Simple English: Double helix
slovenščina: Dvojna vijačnica DNK
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Dvostruki heliks nukleinskih kiselina
Türkçe: İkili sarmal
українська: Подвійна спіраль
粵語: 雙螺旋
中文: 雙股螺旋