Nanoscale emoticons made with DNA — origami vs. tiles

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Hi :-). The smiley face you see here is about 4 mm (or 0.17 of an inch) in length, depending on the font size you are using. Imagine shrinking it by 40,000 times! That is about the size of the smiley face made with synthetic DNA using nanotechnology.

DNA nanotechnology has been around for over 30 years, but the major breakthrough in the field was the development of the DNA origami in 2006. The DNA origami enabled the construction of more complex structures in about a week. The basic principle of the method is that one long, single-stranded DNA gets folded into a certain shape by about 200 short, single strands of DNA segments, or “staples.” This is possible because a single strand of DNA always pairs up with a complementary strand to form a double strand. This approach can be used to create both 2- or 3-dimensional structures. (Read more on DNA origami here.) Continue reading –>

Adapted from Rothemund and Andersen (2012) Nature.



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