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How entropic forces can drive chromosome organisation

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We argue that above an appropriate length scale all chromosomes will behave as flexible polymers. This implies that many large scale features of chromosomal organisation, be it in pro- or eukaryots, can be understood on the basis of the physics of polymers. The dominant organisational principle involved is entropy, the universal, and non-specific, tendency of systems with many degrees of freedom to optimally “fill” their available phase space. Using computer simulations of effective representations of chromosomes we can probe this behaviour and its consequences. We will discuss the examples of chromosome segregation in E. coli, the nuclear organisation of the model plant system A. thaliana, and spatial distribution of eu- and heterochromatin in the human nucleus.

This talk is part of the Theory - Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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