Major and minor grooves


Major and minor grooves

The strand backbones are closer together on one side of the helix than on the other. The major groove occurs where the backbones are far apart, the minor groove occurs where they are close together. The grooves twist around the molecule on opposite sides. Certain proteins bind to DNA to alter its structure or to regulate transcription (copying DNA to RNA) or replication (copying DNA to DNA). It is easier for these   DNA binding proteins to interact with the bases (the internal parts of the DNA molecule) on the major groove side because the backbones are not in the way.

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