Invention could improve DNA-based computing.

New York University scientists report the first time that a functional nanotechnology device within a DNA array has been developed. Nadrian C. Seeman, Ph.D., professor in the chemistry department and graduate student Baoquan Ding developed a DNA cassette through which a nanomechanical device can be inserted and function within a DNA array, allowing for the motion of a nanorobotic arm.

“It is crucial for nanorobotics to be able to insert controllable devices into a particular site within an array, thereby leading to a diversity of structural states,” explains Dr. Seeman. “Here we have demonstrated that a single device has been inserted and converted at a specific site.” The results pave the way for creating nanoscale assembly lines in which more complex maneuvers could be executed, adds Dr. Seeman.

The results, reported in the latest issue of the journal Science, are based on a device Dr. Seeman and his NYU colleagues had previously developed. That component enabled the translation of DNA sequences, thereby potentially serving as a factory for assembling the building blocks of new materials. The invention has the potential to develop new synthetic fibers, advance the encryption of information, and improve DNA-based computation. 

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