Balasubramanian’s group has been pursuing a four-stranded version of the molecule (DNA) that scientists have produced in the test tube now for a number of years.
It is called the G-quadruplex. The “G” refers to guanine, one of the four chemical groups, or “bases”, that hold DNA together and which encode our genetic information (the others being adenine, cytosine, and thymine).
The G-quadruplex seems to form in DNA where guanine exists in substantial quantities. . . .
This revealed the four-stranded DNA arose most frequently during the so-called “s-phase” when a cell copies its DNA just prior to dividing. . . .
If the G-quadruplex could be implicated in the development of some cancers, it might be possible, he said, to make synthetic molecules that contained the structure and blocked the runaway cell proliferation at the root of tumours.
Quantitative visualization of DNA G-quadruplex structures in human cells Giulia Biffi, David Tannahill, John McCafferty & Shankar Balasubramanian, Nature Chemistry (2013) doi:10.1038/nchem.1548
If the quadruple helix is from mutated or erroneous copying, that could be a cause of cancer. From an ID perspective, if double helix DNA was designed and the quadruple helix DNA was not, then I hypothesize that there may be detection and repair mechanisms designed to prevent the quadruple helix DNA from being formed. The underlying cause for the quadruple helix DNA may thus be failure of the detection and repair mechanisms. John C. Sanford’s studies suggest there is an accumulation of mutations in the genome over time. See Mendel’s Accountant, and Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.
Consequently this suggests an increase in the relative frequency quadruple helix DNA to population over time. This raises the potential to identify historic mutations causing this aberration with consequent potential to detect it.