Scientists Simulate One Billion Atoms to Model a Gene of DNA

Los Alamos researchers use the Trinity supercomputer for biomolecular simulation

Scientists at Los Alamos national laboratory have completed the “largest simulation to date of an entire gene of DNA.” The experiment, which simulated one billion atoms, was designed to study how genes turn off and on. According to Los Alamos structural biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu, “Knowing how this happens could unlock the secrets to how diseases occur.”

The behavior of the particles within the simulation is based on experimental data compiled by the Los Alamos team, researchers at the RIKEN Center of Computational Science in Japan, New York City University, and the New Mexico Consortium.

Polymer physicist Anna Lappala adds “Right now we were able to model an entire gene with the help of the Trinity supercomputer at Los Alamos. In the future, we’ll be able to make use of exascale supercomputers, which will give us a chance to model the full genome.”