From Wool Fibres to DNA

Following his success with keratin, Astbury turned his X-ray studies on a number of other fibrous proteins including epidermin, the blood clotting protein fibrinogen, and the muscle protein, myosin. Despite having very different functions in the body, all these proteins were united by a common structure - the transition from an alpha to a beta form of the polypeptide chain, leading to their classification as the 'k-m-e-f' group. This observation led Astbury to propose that, underlying the apparent complexity of biological forms, there might be common structural building blocks. Click on the play button to listen to Astbury talking about the k-m-e-f group.

But a non-protein biological fibre had also caught his attention - this was thymonucleic acid, or as we now refer to it - deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

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