Braid & knot theory in protein folding and genetics?

Guy St.C. Slater.. gslater at
Tue Nov 24 14:16:26 EST 1998

Thomas Harke wrote:
> Alex <emacser at> writes:
> >Never mind, I heard from someone in the know that the guy I was reading
> >is full of hot air.
> >Alex.
> >> Hi.  I read recently that braid theory has some bearing on the protein
> >> folding problem, and knot theory has some bearing on genetics.  Could
> >> someone point me at some references which explain how?
> I haven't looked too closely at this but there does seem to be
> some substance here.  In particular, I thought somebody was able to
> deduce the sequence of actions of enzymes based on the abundance of
> different knots.  It hardly uses full-blown knot theoretical things like
> Seifert surfaces and linear skein theory, but if it solves a problem which
> is otherwise difficult then it is worth considering.
> Unfortunately, my biology is weak.  Do any of you biologists have
> any comments?

A good little book: "DNA Topology" by Bates & Maxwell. (ISBN:

As far as I can remember, it introduces the basics of DNA topology,
structural effects, some knot theory, and more complex topological 
effects such as how transcription of one gene can affect 
transcription of another.

No idea about the braid theory stuff.



 Guy St.C. Slater,                             Tel: (+44) 1223 49 45 65
 Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Centre, Fax: (+44) 1223 49 45 12
 Wellcome Trust Genome Campus,            mailto:gslater at
 Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SB.

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