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The duration of structural transitions in biopolymers is only a fraction of the time spent searching diffusively over the configurational energy landscape. We found the transition time, TP , and the diffusion constant, D, for DNA and RNA folding using energy landscapes obtained from single-molecule trajectories under tension in optical traps. DNA hairpins, RNA pseudoknots, and a riboswitch all had TP $ 10 s and D $ 10 À13-14 m 2 =s, despite widely differing unfolding rates. These results showdoi:10.1103/physrevlett.109.068102 pmid:23006308 fatcat:ggmj7442m5h2jfn2p7ds3okbuy