Scientists build DNA nano-devices

January 4, 2002 | Source: KurzweilAI

New York University researchers claim to have taken a major step in building more controllable machines from DNA. The researchers say that the new device may help build the foundation for the development of sophisticated machines at a molecular scale, ultimately evolving to the development of nano-robots that might some day build new molecules, computer circuits or fight infectious diseases.
The research team was led by NYU chemistry professor Nadrian C. Seeman. Their findings are reported in the January 3, 2002 issue of Nature.

“DNA devices can provide models for the development of nanorobotic applications — provided the individual devices can be manipulated separately,” Seeman said in a statement. “Our findings have taken the first definitive step in localizing movement within molecular scale DNA machines, introducing independence of movement within a wider structure.”

In January 1999, Professor Seeman’s 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 new findings allow movement of molecule pairs without affecting others within the larger structure. This is done by inserting DNA “set” and “fuel” strands into individual molecule pairs.