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A team of 3 researchers from the Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science Research Group has finally solved a long-standing hurdle: given a string of DNA letters what knots can it make!

Knots of DNA called G-quadruplexes can form as a means to regulate making of proteins. Consequently, predicting the 3D structures these molecules adopt is important for understanding fundamental biology as well as the development of therapeutics and diagnostics.

The folding problem was approached from the reverse direction: a methodology was developed for programming formation of the 3D structures of G-quadruplexes. This provides a roadmap for understanding the controlling structural features that allow for predicting their 3D structures.

The ability to design the 3D architecture of quadruplexes has current applications in the development of biotechnologies, nanomotors, nanomaterials, catalysis, nanowires for electronics, and therapeutics, to name a few.

As a consequence of this impact, this seminal work has just been accepted for publication in the journal 'Science Advances'. The work was funded by the BBSRC, and performed exclusively by a Ulster University team of 3: Scarlett A Dvorkin, Andreas I. Karsisiotis and Mateus Webba da Silva