We present a numerical study in which large-scale bulk simulations of self-assembled DNA constructs have been carried out with a realistic coarse-grained model. The investigation aims at obtaining a precise, albeit numerically demanding, estimate of the free energy for such systems. We then, in turn, use these accurate results to validate a recently proposed theoretical approach that builds on a liquid-state theory, the Wertheim theory, to compute the phase diagram of all-DNA fluids. This hybrid theoretical/numerical approach, based on the lowest-order virial expansion and on a nearest-neighbor DNA model, can provide, in an undemanding way, a parameter-free thermodynamic description of DNA associating fluids that is in semi-quantitative agreement with experiments. We show that the predictions of the scheme are as accurate as those obtained with more sophisticated methods. We also demonstrate the flexibility of the approach by incorporating non-trivial additional contributions that go beyond the nearest-neighbor model to compute the DNA hybridization free energy.
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