POV-Ray model of a DNA double helix

The Persistence of Vision Raytracer (POV-Ray) is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux.

POV-Ray dna model plastics

Use of POV-Ray in Life-Science-Informatics is widespread. With the include-file DNAhelix.inc we provide an easy way to generate customisable models of DNA double-helices. The green and red dna displayed is generated with the following lines of POV-Ray code (complete source code is included in the download archive):

  #declare sticks = DNA_Blue;
  #declare helix1 = DNA_Red;
  #declare helix2 = DNA_Green;
  #declare gap = yes;
  #declare coord = no;
  DNA_Helix( 4, 0.4, 0.2, helix1, helix2, sticks, gap, coord)

The macro DNA_Helix() is easy to use and accepts the following arguments:

DNA_Helix( DNALength, tubeRadius, stickRadius, textureTube1, textureTube2,
           textureSticks, gap, coord)
  • DNALength: Number of twists of the DNA
  • tubeRadius: Gauge of helix tubes
  • stickRadius: Gauge of sticks
  • textureTube1: Texture definition of the first tube
  • textureTube2: Texture definition of the second tube
  • textureSticks: Texture definition of the sticks
  • gap: Draw sticks with gaps: yes or no
  • coord: Show coordinate system: yes or no

See some other examples may illustrate the of use of DNA_Helix():
This example shows a realistic DNA, generated with the default settings of angleRotate ('60' - in the include file DNAhelix.inc) and gap ('yes'): POV-Ray dna model glass Setting angleRotate to '0' (in the include file DNAhelix.inc) and gap to 'no' results in a schematic and symmetric double helix:
POV-Ray helix model metal
DNA_Helix( 4, 0.6, 0.3, Vicks_Bottle_Glass,
 Vicks_Bottle_Glass, Orange_Glass, yes, no)
DNA_Helix( 4, 0.6, 0.3, Brass_Metal,
 Brass_Metal, Silver_Metal, no, no)
The next example shows the glass dna spanning through our nice little city of Giessen:
Bioinformatics in Giessen

Please read our disclaimer before downloading and using this software.

Please use the following reference if results obtained by applying the software are published
(download bibTeX file):

Milev, M., Nickel, O. M., Dominik, A., 2010. Povray model of a dna double helix. University of Applied Sciences Giessen, Website, [Online]. Available at: http://www.life-science-it.org/pages/research/projectPovrayHelix.html [Accessed ].

GPLv2 License This work is licensed under a GNU General Public License Version 2 .