Roomy cages built from DNA

Friday, March 14, 2014 - 06:40 in Physics & Chemistry

Move over, nanotechnologists, and make room for the biggest of the small. Scientists at the Harvard’s Wyss Institute have built a set of self-assembling DNA cages only one-tenth as wide as a bacterium. The structures are some of the largest and most complex ever constructed solely from DNA, the researchers report today’s online edition of the journal Science. Moreover, they visualized them using a DNA-based super-resolution microscopy method — and were able to obtain the first sharp 3-D optical images of intact synthetic DNA nanostructures in solution. The work means that one day, scientists may be able to coat the DNA cages to enclose their contents, packaging drugs for delivery to tissues. And, like a roomy closet, the cages could be modified with chemical hooks on which to hang components such as proteins or gold nanoparticles. This could help scientists build a variety of technologies, including tiny power plants, minuscule factories that...

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