Tag Archives: nanotechnology

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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Remote control of genes — Radio waves activate insulin production in mice

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Imagine treating a disease with a push of a button, without having to take pills or to undergo surgery. Sounds crazy? The concept of radio-wave remote control of genes may make this happen soon.

Many important physiological processes in our body are regulated by gene expression. When genes are expressed, new proteins are made which have many important functions. Scientists are probing for ways to control the gene expression both non-invasively and non-pharmacologically. In clinical settings, this approach will reduce a lot of burden on patients. The search has led to the idea of using radio waves. Continue reading –>

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