DNA Origami

Recently, I read an article from Nature about a new system of techniques that enabled folding of DNA to create virtually any type of shapes or patterns. Currently they are only capable of bending DNAs into two dimensional shapes. They are working on techniques to generate 3 dimensional shapes.

These shapes much much smaller and cheaper than what has been done by other techniques in nano-structure designing because most of the structure is generated by self-assembling. Mass production of nano structures are now possible because, you dont have to move everything into place unit by unit any more. Just cut the strands and “drop them in the test tube” and tada! you have lots of nano-structures floating around.

I am not an expert of DNAs or nanostructures, but this one caught my imagination. The articles on the web describes the future of this technique in creating nanobreadboards and other devices.

I don’t know the future, but imagine the possibilities of designing nano-mouse-trap or a trap-door-cage that can trap a virus or a prion into a lot of steric hinderance, thus prevent it from interacting with anything. The trap can be designed for just one virus or a class of viruses. That will be an end to fears of a flu pandemic. Drug research and development will be lot cheaper and quicker because mutated viruses will also get traped in the same nano-structure and all one has to do to trap a new virus is modify the generic-trapdoor-framework. People will virtually disease free, living longer.

Even deeper into the future, we may have structures capable of storing information, storing probed data in some format using some nano-mechanical-dexterity or traped molecules (eg: cynocobalamin means 1, folic acid means 0) or qbits stored in embedded quantum dots.

We will send these structures near every neuron to measure its state and encode them into these quantum dots they carry. Using some advanced nuclear magnetic resonance these states will be measured and transfered to a super complex turing machine that can emulate your brain. That will be good alterego till you pull the plug.

Big Words. Pure Nonsense.


One thought on “DNA Origami

  1. The Flu possibility:
    I am uncertain how possible it is, especially the flu one. The problem with flu is that it is so variable. So if we design a set of parameters for getting one flu virus, it probably will not be effective for another virus. The genetic variability is too much. i think that is the big problem with such devices. It will have to detect the virus and discern it as a virus and not as something else. Besides, our common molecular technique for generating vaccine is pretty effective if the virus can be isolated. so… But it can probably be used for drug delivery applications. So, if we want to deliver particular drugs to particular position in our body. We can enclose the drug in these nanomolecules and get it to transport through the body until we reach the desired position and then somekind of stimulus could trigger release. That would be quite revolutionary as well.

    >> we can use a dna to easily store information with minimal errors. DNA has 4 nucleotides: Adenine (A = 0), Thymine (T = 1), Guanine (G = 2), and Cytosine (C = 3). Now say we encode a number in base 4 (or even base 2) using these bases.

    Say we want to encode Hello: we could use normal ASCII: “HELLO” is [72 69 76 76 79],
    in base 4: [1020 1011 1030 1030 1033]. So we can use 4bits and encode this as:
    and now create a dna: 5′-TAGATATTTACATACATACC-3′
    this is like 20bp long. That is about 0.34nm/bp*20bp = 6.8 nm. That would be really small. So say we have a CD with like 5872025600 bits capacity. We can store it in a dna of size: 5872025600/2 = 2936012800 if we use 4 bits. this is about 1 m total length if we stretch it out, but that means nothing as the molecule will be wound onto histones etc to get a really small molecule in a cell. The only problem is sequencing. It would be difficult to sequence all these base pairs and that too in microseconds. There are probably really good encryption techniques that we can do using a dna! Well i need to get back to work. Oh i may errors in my calcs above, as i did them very very quickly.

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