The differences between human DNA and mosquito DNA aren’t limited to the arrangement of letters in the genetic code. If you were to slice open a human cell and a mosquito cell and peer into the nucleus of each, you’d see that their chromosomes are folded with a dramatically different type of genetic origami. Now, researchers have figured out how to fold one type of DNA to take the shape of the other — essentially making human DNA coil like a mosquito’s.

“In the human nucleus, the chromosomes are bunched into tidy packages,” Claire Hoencamp, a doctoral candidate in cancer biology at the University of Amsterdam, told Live Science in a video call as she crumpled a sheet of paper. “But in the mosquito nucleus, the chromosomes are folded in the middle.” As she spoke, she folded several sheets of paper in half and arranged them like books on a shelf, with the pages facing outward.



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