Diseases are caused by mutations in DNA sequences. DNA tends to form double-helix structures but in more recent times, it has been found that it can also form non-canonical structures in response to changes in the environment around it. Japanese researchers have now unearthed some exciting findings about the chain reaction that results, potentially leading to diseases such as cancer. Associate Professor Hisae Tateishi-Karimata and Professor Naoki Sugimoto are based at the Frontier Institute for Biomolecular Engineering Research (FIBER), Konan University in Japan, and are collaborating on important work to better understand the complex inner workings of cells in disease. An area of focus for this research is the elucidation of mechanisms of diseases caused by non-canonical structures of DNA and regulation for DNA function.