From Alan Boyle, science editor at MSNBC, news of DNA self-assembly work at the lab of Eric Winfree of Caltech:
“A computer scientist has developed a method to weave stringy DNA molecules into nanometer-scale, two-dimensional patterns ranging from smiley faces to a map of the Americas.
“Experts say the ‘DNA origami’ procedure laid out by Paul Rothemund of the California Institute of Technology could be adapted to create nano-computers, new drug delivery systems or even molecular-scale chemical factories…
” ‘A physicist, for example, might attach nano-sized semiconductor “quantum dots” in a pattern that creates a quantum computer,’ [Rothemund] said. ‘A biologist might use DNA origami to take proteins which normally occur separately in nature, and organize them into a multi-enzyme factory that hands a chemical product from one enzyme machine to the next in the manner of an assembly line.’ ”
Additional coverage from the Australian Broadcasting Corp.: “Rothemund has been working on flat, two-dimensional shapes but says that 3D structures in DNA should be quite feasible with this technique.” (Credit: John Faith, see also Nature.)
Hmm, a 3D nanoscale assembly line carrying out atomically-precise chemical operations…we like it! —Christine