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J Biol Phys. 2009 Feb;35(1):73-89. doi: 10.1007/s10867-009-9127-2. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Nonlinear analysis of the dynamics of DNA breathing.

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Laboratoire de Physique, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France.


The base pairs that encode the genetic information in DNA show large amplitude localized excitations called DNA breathing. We discuss the experimental observations of this phenomenon and its theoretical analysis. Starting from a model introduced to study the thermal denaturation of DNA, we show that it can qualitatively describe DNA breathing but is quantitatively not satisfactory. We show how the model can be modified to be quantitatively correct. This defines a nonlinear lattice model, which is interesting in itself because it has nonlinear localized excitations, forming a new class of discrete breather.

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