“If you unfold the DNA inside a human cell it would measure 2 meters end to end… but it has to fold up inside of a nucleus that is only 6 microns wide! How does the genome fold?”

Good question! And the answer is really rather elegant, as beautifully illustrated in origami by Suhas Rao and Miriam Huntley. Submitted as a video abstract to the journal Cell in 2014, Suhas and Miriam describe a 3D map of the human genome at kilobase resolution, revealing the principles of chromatin looping that allows so much DNA to fit into such a tiny space.

With astonishing origami folding by Sarah Nyquist!


Suhas S.P. Rao*, Miriam H. Huntley*, Neva C. Durand, Elena K. Stamenova, Ivan D. Bochkov, James T. Robinson, Adrian L. Sanborn, Ido Machol, Arina D. Omer, Eric S. Lander, Erez Lieberman Aiden. (2014). A 3D Map of the Human Genome at Kilobase Resolution Reveals Principles of Chromatin Looping. Cell 159, 1665–1680.

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