Double-stranded DNA molecules are occasionally found that appear to be straightened and stretched in atomic force microscope (AFM) images. Usually pBS+ plasmid and lambda DNA show relaxed structures with bends and kinks along the strands and have measured contour lengths consistent to about 5-7%; they also appear not to cross over each other, except in very high concentrations. The anomalous molecules observed here, compared with the majority of molecules in the preparation, show contour lengths increased by as much as 80% and have measured heights of about half that of normal relaxed DNA. Some molecules also appear to be in transition between stretched and relaxed forms. These observations are consistent with an uncoiling of the DNA helix without breakage of the covalent bonds in the deoxyribose-phosphate backbone.