DNA is stored in vivo in a highly compact, so-called condensed phase, where gene regulatory processes are governed by the intricate interplay between different states of DNA compaction. This direction is important for fundamental questions such the origin of life and epigenetic gene regulation and may have pharmaceutical applications in gene therapy. The systems involving condensed DNA are very crowded and often have surprising properties, which one would not predict from classical concepts of dilute solutions. Recent developments in the study of DNA condensation have been associated with approaches coming from biochemistry, electrostatics, statistical mechanics and quantitative biology. Different aspects of condensed DNA behavior revealed by these approaches are linked to each other, but the links are often hidden in the bulk of experimental and theoretical details.
See details in our recent review: Teif & Bohinc (2011) Prog Biophys Mol Biol