Scientists at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia have discovered a new form of DNA in our cells. They’ve found that this DNA does not look the same as the traditional double-helix we are all familiar with, but instead is in the shape of a four stranded “knot”. This new DNA is called i-motif. Scientists not only know the shape of this new type of DNA, they also know how it differs from helical DNA and where it is located. Unlike helical DNA in which the Cs and Gs bind, the Cs on the same strand in the i-motif bind together.
In order to locate the i-motifs in the cells, researchers developed a new tool than can recognize this type of DNA. This tool is a fragment of an antibody that attaches to the i-motif DNA molecule. They used fluorescence techniques to find exactly where in the nucleus of human cells the i-motif DNA was.
Scientists also have concluded that the i-motifs most likely form at the late G1 phase. They appear in the telomere and promoter regions.