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Further research: Hanson's legacy

Structure of actinStructure of actinDuring the 1980s researchers developing Hanson's discoveries investigated the helical structure of actin and thus acquired a clearer picture of how contraction occurs.

This insight was an important component in the theory of cross bridges between the myosin and actin that provide the force for movement when the chemical energy conserved in the body's energy 'fuel', ATP, is converted into useful mechanical energy.

Both the landmark sliding filament discovery and her work on the structure of actin have formed the basis of later discoveries into the functioning of proteins.

Ultimately, they help explain what happens when energy stored within an athlete's glucose drink is released in the human muscle to secure an Olympics 100 metres-winning performance.

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