double helix

noun

Definition of double helix

: a helix or spiral consisting of two strands in the surface of a cylinder that coil around its axis especially : the structural arrangement of DNA in space that consists of paired polynucleotide strands stabilized by cross-links between purine and pyrimidine bases — compare alpha-helix, watson-crick model

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Other Words from double helix

double-helical \ ˌdə-​bəl-​ˈhe-​li-​kəl How to pronounce double helix (audio) , -​ˈhē-​ \ adjective

Examples of double helix in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The iconic structure of the DNA double helix makes its due appearance, but Zimmer is careful to note that this was just the beginning, not the end, of our mechanistic understanding of life, and of those who contributed to it. New York Times, "What Does It Mean to Be a Living Thing?," 24 Mar. 2021 Scientists have made leaps and bounds in understanding genetic material like DNA and RNA since the 1953 discovery of the double helix. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Scientist Jennifer Doudna Is Leading the Next Technological Revolution," 9 Mar. 2021 British scientists discovered the DNA double helix and were part of the international team that first sequenced the human genome. Joanna Sugden, WSJ, "How the U.K. Became World Leader in Sequencing the Coronavirus Genome," 30 Jan. 2021 These include base editing—which unzips the DNA enough to swap a single base pair for another—and prime editing, which does that, and more, with just a little nick on one side of the DNA double helix. Megan Molteni, Wired, "In Embryos, Crispr Can Cut Out Whole Chromosomes—That's Bad," 29 Oct. 2020 Around 2010, Emmanuelle Charpentier led a team that identified that the CRISPR repeats were transcribed from both of the DNA strands of the double helix. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Gene-editing tool gets its inevitable Nobel," 7 Oct. 2020 The new era would dawn some 40 years after Americans Walter Gilbert and Allan Maxam and Englishman Fred Sanger discovered different methods of reading the information on the double helix. Mark Johnson And Kathleen Gallagher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One in a billion: A 4-year-old is plagued by a mysterious, relentless disease. His genome might hold clues.," 18 Dec. 2010 The story of Joe Biden’s political career is inextricable from the story of his family, entwined in his personal biography like a double helix of DNA. Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times, "At the DNC, Joe Biden’s story is his family’s story," 20 Aug. 2020 Mougous, like Liu a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, knew Liu had invented a breakthrough form of CRISPR, one that changes only a single DNA letter, and does so without cutting the double helix, which can lead to genomic havoc. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Gene-editing discovery could point the way toward a ‘holy grail’: cures for mitochondrial diseases," 8 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'double helix.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of double helix

1954, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for double helix

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The first known use of double helix was in 1954

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Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Double helix.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/double%20helix. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for double helix

double helix

noun

English Language Learners Definition of double helix

technical : the shape formed by two parallel lines that twist around each other

double helix

noun

Medical Definition of double helix

: a helix or spiral consisting of two strands in the surface of a cylinder that coil around its axis especially : the structural arrangement of DNA in space that consists of paired polynucleotide strands stabilized by cross-links between purine and pyrimidine bases — compare alpha-helix, watson-crick model

Other Words from double helix

double-helical \ -​ˈhel-​i-​kəl How to pronounce double helix (audio) , -​ˈhē-​li-​ How to pronounce double helix (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on double helix

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about double helix

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