Topological and geometrical entanglement in a model of circular DNA undergoing denaturation


The linking number (topological entanglement) and the writhe (geometrical entanglement) of a model of circular double stranded DNA undergoing a thermal denaturation transition are investigated by Monte Carlo simulations. By allowing the linking number to fluctuate freely in equilibrium we see that the linking probability undergoes an abrupt variation (first-order) at the denaturation transition, and stays close to 1 in the whole native phase. The average linking number is almost zero in the denatured phase and grows as the square root of the chain length, N, in the native phase. The writhe of the two strands grows as the square root of N in both phases.Comment: 7 pages, 11 figures, revte

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