Professor Enzo Di Fabrizio has taken photographs of DNA directly using an electron microscope.
While the double-corkscrew form of DNA has been observed indirectly using X-ray crystallography, this is the first time anyone has been able to take a picture of it directly. Professor Di Fabrizio and colleagues constructed a nanoscopic landscape of silicon pillars, then poured on a solution containing strands of DNA. The liquid evaporated, leaving the DNA strands stretched between the pillars like tiny tight-ropes.
To capture the image, beams of electrons were shone through holes in the silicon to produce high resolution photographs of the DNA molecules. The achievement provides new insight in to the nanoscopic world of DNA and makes it possible for us to set eyes upon it directly for the first time.
"Fifty-nine years after James Watson and Francis Crick deduced the double-helix structure of DNA, a scientist has captured the first direct photograph of the twisted ladder that props up life."
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