DNA as exemplary polymer

Oleg Krichevsky

Department of Physics, Ben-Gurion University.

I will describe several basic concepts of polymer physics addressing statistics and dynamics of polymers in dilute and semi-dilute solutions. Then we will focus on DNA molecules as an example of of semi-flexible polymer. The DNA segment length characterizing DNA rigidity (persistence length) is much larger than the double-helix diameter, yet can be much smaller than the total DNA contour length. The presence of several characteristic length scales gives rise to a rich pattern of DNA statistical and dynamic properties. Our experimental data show that in some regimes DNA behavior is "simpler" than that of flexible polymers, i.e. it can be described with the help of the simplest polymer theories.