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Moving Charges Through Nucleic Acid Sequences: Making Sense of Mechanisms and Rates in Dynamic Media

Abstract: The ability of DNA to conduct electronic charge has been known since the early 1960s, soon after its double helical structure with stacked aromatic nucleobases was elucidated. It is widely recognized today, that understanding and controlling charge transfer in nucleic acids (DNA, RNA, and synthetic analogs) has far reaching implications in both biology and biotechnology. Intense research in the last two decades, primarily on DNA and extended in recent years to other nucleic acids, has painted a complex picture of nucleic acid charge transfer with a multitude of mechanisms and rates. I will present an emerging computational framework to understand the diversity of charge transfer mechanisms and rates seen in nucleic acids. The framework will be applied to interpret electrochemical rates measured in self assembled monolayers of peptide nucleic acid sequences.