a specialist term for melt, unfold or break-up. Applied specifically to molecules - especially those that are connected by hydrogen bonds. The non-denatured state is known as the native state (or N) and this is the active situation. when a protein is denatured it is not destroyed, or broken into the smallest of pieces. It is the organisation of the native state that is destroyed. From a coherent, woven structure a denaturing agent produces a jumbled mess. For DNA, this is less destructive - necessary even. The separate strands of the double helix can come apart and rejoin with much less tangle; an essential part of the copying process, where each denatured strand templates the formation of a new double structure.