What are the applications of the knot theory to biology/pharmacology ?

I guess there should be some, since proteins are quite long and probably some of their properties are related whether they are knotted or not.


Some related questions:

Applications of knot theory

Applications of group theory to math. biology (pharmacology) ?

Any applications integrable systems (pde,ode, q-,...) to math. biology (pharmakinetics, pharmadynamics) ?

"Graphical models" and "gene finding and diagnosis of diseases" ?

Mathematics and cancer research?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In my experience, the "applications" of knot theory to these fields are fairly elementary and really don't use any deep theory, but I'd love to be proven wrong. $\endgroup$ – Jim Conant Apr 24 '12 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ I kind of ask a similar question to a researcher doing maths for biology once, like "did someone use symmetry theories with a significant impact in biology ?" (I had in mind the Noether theorem and relatives). His answer : "it seems it is not enough to apply known theorems of math-phy to math-bio, it really needs new technology and objects". $\endgroup$ – Adrien Hardy Apr 24 '12 at 20:34

In the end of this paper by Loius Kauffman and Jay Goldman, they use some properties of rational tangles to deduce the different ways in which DNA can recombine. I think I have seen other papers that do similar things.


A web search on DNA and Knot Theory yields hits, for example



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