Paul Rothemund, Ph.D., of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., will present his findings March 26 in Atlanta, Ga., at the 231st national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the worlds largest scientific society. A paper on the discovery, which Rothemund calls "scaffolded DNA origami," was published in the March 16 issue of the journal Nature.
The complexity of shapes that Rothemund has achieved from programming strands of DNA, including snowflakes, smiley faces and even a map of the Americas, are about 10-fold more complex than the field of molecular self-assembly has mustered to date, yet one doesnt even need a science degree to make them, according to Rothemund.
The technique is simple because it starts with a single, complete scaffold one strand of viral DNA and uses short, complementary strands as staples to fold and keep the scaffold in place.
In Rothemunds one-pot approach, "the scaffold is already perfect; all the information is there," he says, "so you can afford to be sloppy about the purity and quantities of the staples. All that matters is that some good copies of them are in there somewhere."
Folding DNA into smiley faces would be little more than fancywork if it werent for its implications. Computer experts, for example, believe the traditional silicon chip has about a decades worth of technology left to squeeze before miniaturization leaves it behind. What will comprise th
Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society