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We generalize the Poland-Scheraga model to consider DNA denaturation in the presence of an external stretching force. We demonstrate the existence of a force-induced DNA denaturation transition and obtain the temperature-force phase diagram. The transition is determined by the loop exponent c, for which we find the new value c=4ν−1/2 such that the transition is second order with c=1.85<2 in d=3. We show that a finite stretching force F destabilizes DNA, corresponding to a lower melting temperature T(F), in agreement with single-molecule DNA stretching experiments.


©2008 American Physical Society. Original published version available at

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Physical Review Letters





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