Genome folding. A cell needs to pack almost a meter of DNA into the tiny space of the nucleus and be able to be able to unravel it in a moment's notice without creating knots. This amazing feat is achieved by folding the DNA into a fractal globule. To illustrate the local compaction with global scaling of the genome as suggested by the data, we created 3D prints of a rainbow-color string folded with (top) and without fractal geometry (bottom) showing the clustering of colors.

DNA folded according to fractal globule geometry.

DNA not compacted with fractal geomety.

Comprehensive mapping of long-range interactions reveals folding principles of the human genome. Lieberman-Aiden E1, van Berkum NL, Williams L, Imakaev M, Ragoczy T, Telling A, Amit I, Lajoie BR, Sabo PJ, Dorschner MO, Sandstrom R, Bernstein B, Bender MA, Groudine M, Gnirke A, Stamatoyannopoulos J, Mirny LA, Lander ES, Dekker J. Science. 2009 Oct 9;326(5950):289-93. doi: 10.1126/science.1181369.