What is the difference between circular and linear DNA?

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One of the main differences between circular and linear DNA is where they are found. Linear DNA is found in the nucleus of eukaryotes (like animals, plants, and fungi), and circular DNA is found in the cytoplasm of prokaryotes (like bacteria, archaea, and cyanobacteria).

As you might imagine from its...

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One of the main differences between circular and linear DNA is where they are found. Linear DNA is found in the nucleus of eukaryotes (like animals, plants, and fungi), and circular DNA is found in the cytoplasm of prokaryotes (like bacteria, archaea, and cyanobacteria).

As you might imagine from its name, linear DNA has two free ends, so it looks roughly like a line. DNA replication is a complex process, as it has many origin points of replication. Because it is a relatively large structure, it requires tight coiling in order to fit inside the cell's nucleus.

Circular DNA, by comparison, has no free ends and is therefore a closed structure. That circular structure can vary, including supercoiled and nicked circular DNA forms. There is a single point of replication, making replication a simple process when compared to linear DNA.

For further clarity, I'm including a link below for your reference, which also explains some of the similarities of linear and circular DNA.

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