The research team was led by NYU chemistry professor Nadrian C. Seeman. Their findings are reported in the January 3, 2002 issue of Nature. Professor Seeman said, "DNA devices can provide models for the development of nanorobotic applications provided the individual devices can be manipulated separately. Our findings have taken the first definitive step in localizing movement within molecular scale DNA machines, introducing independence of movement within a wider structure."
Professor Seeman has led research teams to previous breakthroughs in the construction of structures and devices from DNA molecules. All of these structures use base pairing, which allows strands of DNA to be programmed to self-assemble in well-defined ways. In January 1999, Professor Seemans lab announced the development of a machine constructed from DNA molecules, which had two rigid arms that could be rotated from fixed positions by adding a chemical to the solution. However, the chemical affected all molecules within a structure uniformly.
The research teams most recent findings demonstrate how movement can be manipulated within molecule pairs without affecting others within a larger structure. This is done by inserting DNA set and fuel strands into individual molecule pairs. Scientists used paranemic crossover (PX) (see figure
Contact: Shonna Keogan
New York University