Structural Self-Replication Based on DNA Could Create New Materials

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 15:31 in Physics & Chemistry

Self-Replicating Motif Inspired by DNA replication rules, tile motifs recognize and bind to complementary tiles to form a new, unique sequence. Wang et al./Nature One of the hallmarks of living things is self-replication, the ability to make new copies of biological structures. Scientists have harnessed this ability in several ways, using DNA and viruses to organize materials for things like solar panels. But inducing artificial self-replication, which would enable new types of self-fabricating materials, has proven more difficult. Now researchers at New York University say they've taken a step in that direction, building a complex artificial system that can self-replicate. The researchers started with artificial DNA tile motifs, which are tiny arrangements of DNA. Just like the base pairs of DNA, the tiles each serve as a letter, each of which pairs with another specific letter. DNA's A-T and G-C pairs form the molecule's double helix. In this case, the tiles...

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