Scientists Brew Tree-Shaped DNA: "Researchers from Cornell University have synthesized a new type of DNA that can be used as a nanotechnology building block. … The Cornell researchers have found a way to make branched, or Y-shaped DNA, and have constructed dendrimer, or tree-shaped, DNA by connecting branched DNA." Alternate URL
Since Ned Seeman founded the field of DNA nanotechnology during the 1980s, a widening group of researchers have been using the normally linear DNA molecule to make a wide variety of differently-shaped building blocks, computing elements, and nanomechanical devices. See also recent Nanodot post DNA Origami: Clonable structures for nanotechnology.
Abstract of the research paper reporting Y- and tree-shaped DNA:
Nature Materials 3, 38?42 (2004)
Controlled assembly of dendrimer-like DNA
YOUGEN LI, YOLANDA D. TSENG, SANG Y. KWON, LEO D'ESPAUX, J. SCOTT BUNCH, PAUL L. MCEUEN and DAN LUO
Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-5701, USA
Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-5701, USA
Correspondence to: DAN LUO DL79@cornell.edu
Nature Materials AOP Published online: 21 December 2003 | doi:10.1038/nmat1045
DNA possesses many desirable chemical/physical properties as a polymeric material. With the myriad of tools available to manipulate DNA, there is great potential for using DNA as a generic instead of a genetic material. Although much progress has been made in DNA computing and DNA nanotechnology, the full achievement of DNA-based materials has not yet been realized. As almost all DNA molecules are either linear or circular, to rationally construct DNA materials one must first create additional shapes of DNA as basic building blocks. In addition, these DNA building blocks must be readily incorporated into larger structures in a controlled manner. Here, we show the controlled assembly of dendrimer-like DNA (DL-DNA) from Y-shaped DNA (Y-DNA). The synthesis of Y-DNA and controlled assembly of DL-DNA were robust and efficient; the resulting DL-DNA was stable and almost monodisperse. The multivalent DNA dendrimers can be either isotropic or anisotropic, providing great potential to link other entities.