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-helical (audio) , -​ˈhē-​ \ adjective

Examples of double helix in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Inside, a chalkboard with cartoon drawings of a microbe and a double helix welcomes newcomers, but the lab areas are seriously kitted out. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "The Rogue Experimenters," 18 May 2020 There is a lot of repetition, beginning with the two strands of nucleotides that zip together to form DNA’s double helix. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "A Breakthrough in Genetic Medicine for Rare Diseases," 3 Mar. 2020 The research campus would house a $246M multistory building resembling a double helix, modeled after a strand of DNA, and boast laboratories, plazas, restaurants, shops, commercial spaces and an elevated park with gardens and trails. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Photos show Houston's Texas Medical Center campus transform over nearly 100 years," 5 Mar. 2020 Pistor highlights the explosion of scientific creativity in molecular biology since Crick and Watson’s discovery of the double helix. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Big Law’ Makes Big Money," 28 Jan. 2020 Using their new method, the researchers printed an assortment of complex shapes—including tornadoesque whirls, single and double helices (above), branched treelike shapes, and even one that resembles a goldfish. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, "Liquid-in-liquid printing method could put 3D-printed organs in reach," 1 Nov. 2019 European colonizers invented the concept of race 500 years before the double helix was discovered. Jack Herrera, Popular Science, "DNA tests can’t tell you your race," 27 Dec. 2019 Starting from scratch Both DNA and RNA can form a double helix, with the exterior of the helix formed by sugars linked through phosphates. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Single reaction mixture can produce all four RNA bases," 4 Oct. 2019 The base pairing that holds the double helix together always involves pairing a one-ringed base with a two-ringed base, which maintains a constant width of the helix. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Single reaction mixture can produce all four RNA bases," 4 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of double helix was in 1954

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Statistics for double helix

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Double helix.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/double%20helix. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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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-helical (audio) , -​ˈhē-​li-​ How to pronounce double-helical (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on double helix

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about double helix

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