Scientists have just discovered a new form of DNA inside humans – no, not alien stuff. A new study published in “Nature Chemistry” confirms this other DNA, known as “i-motif” exists inside living beings, but is much different from the DNA that you may have learned about in science class.
We’re used to seeing DNA in its helix structure where all the compounds connect to each other almost like a ladder. Well the new i-motif is more of a knot. “The i-motif is a four-stranded ‘knot’ of DNA,” says Marcel Dinger, a co-author on the study. “In the knot structure, C [cytosine] letters on the same strand of DNA bind to each other – so this is very different from a double helix, where ‘letters’ on opposite strands recognize each other and where Cs bind to Gs [guanines].”
Researchers were able to find the new DNA using fluorescent dye that highlights the i-motif. As for what it does, more studies need to be done, but scientists believe they may help genes switch “on or off.”