No offense, but I've noticed a lot of you act like you've got your DNA in a wad. Well, that's perfectly natural - and I'm beginning to understand why.

Histones, for example, are proteins around which DNA coils. So clever how they assemble and interact with DNA. Groups of these coils link up with the help of other histones to form elegant compact structures, which in turn are assisted by other proteins to form compact zig-zag structures, which are again compacted with the help of other proteins, forming the chromatin that makes up chromosomes. The result of that complex repetitive coiling and folding is a structure that is 30,000 times shorter than the original DNA molecule. With this mind-boggling organization, DNA becomes short enough to fit in the nucleus of a cell, yet is still carefully controlled and organized - not just randomly wadded up and inaccessible when needed.

Man, I need some histones for all the information I've got scattered across my desk.

As we approach Thanksgiving, thank your lucky mutations for DNA and its brilliant set of organizing tools. And be sure to thank them for your eyes, your vocal chords, your taste buds, your circulatory system, and your otoliths -- the tiny calcium carbonate particles in your ear that play a profound role in the human experience. The brilliance of these minute little accidents of random mutations in our wadded up DNA just makes my head spin.
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