Faster does not mean more precise—a new view of how proteins diffuse and bind to a specific site on the DNA reassesses the role noise plays in the biochemical production line that creates biomolecules from genes.
Genome replication originates at random places along the DNA strand, yet replication of the genetic material finishes within a defined time. A model based on phase-transition kinetics in condensed-matter systems explains how this just-in-time replication can happen.
Physics1, 30 (2008) – Published October 20, 2008
Some of the most ingenious ideas for designing microfluidic systems come from observing plants and animals. A study that quantifies the protein-driven helical flow of liquid in large plant cells, for instance, may well inspire micron-scale liquid mixers and sensors.
Given that vaccine supplies are often limited, a quantitative understanding of how the number and frequency of vaccinations can affect the growth rate of disease would be useful. Physicists show that even a small number of randomly vaccinated individuals can exponentially increase the extinction rate of a disease.
Current technology permits tracking single molecules with exquisite precision, but the results need to be interpreted with care. Long-duration measurement of the motion of a single particle yields information that is different and complementary to that obtained from an ensemble average of many particles.
Molecular dynamics simulations show that thermal gradients – of order 1010 K over a meter - can polarize liquid water. The finding could have interesting implications for developing hyperthermal treatments that target cancer cells.
Phys. Rev. Focus21, 12 (2008) – Published April 7, 2008
Researchers have simulated the formation of complex shapes formed spontaneously by sheets of polymers in solution. The results provide a recipe for experimentalists that are studying these structures for drug delivery and nanofabrication.