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DNA Genie Bottle Assembles Itself

  June, 4 2009 8:08
your information resource in human molecular genetics

A variety of complex self-assembled DNA shapes are revealed in Nature. It's thought the method used to produce them could help make custom devices with nanometre-scale features.

Researchers have coaxed DNA to self-assemble into specific two- and three-dimensional shapes before, but not with this level of complexity. William Shih and colleagues can now produce three-dimensional DNA objects forming a range of shapes, at a scale of 10 to 100 nanometres. Here, they unveil a variety of self-assembled DNA objects, including a genie bottle, monolith and railed bridge.

Although the shapes can take a week or more to self-assemble, the authors manage to obtain an impressive degree of control over the positions of the various DNA helices. They do it by arranging the DNA helices into pleated strands, which are then assembled into a honeycomb-like three-dimensional structure linked by phosphate groups between the various strands.


William Shih (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA)
E-mail: William_Shih@dfci.harvard.edu

Thomas LaBean (Duke University, Durham, NC, USA) N&V author
E-mail: thl@cs.duke.edu

(C) Nature press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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