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DNA Nanotechnology


DNA technology refers to the technological use of the molecular recognition properties of the DNA molecule to recreate non-informative structures out of the DNA helix for the purpose of interactions with other proteins and similar agents.


DNA technology used a system called branched DNA to make otherwise unobtainable structures out of the DNA molecule. Structurally speaking, DNA is always a linear molecule. Its polymer strands are unbranched, and it links in a straight chain fashion.


DNA strands are often used in what is popularly referred to as 'Tile-based arrays'. These are arrangements of DNA in a typically unnatural manner. The most popular of these, the 'DX array', is a two dimensional periodic lattice of DNA molecules which can be extended to form flat sheets of two dimensional DNA crystals. (See picture below)
DX Array (DNA)

Another popular function within DNA nanotechnology is the creation of the DNA nanotube. Similar to carbon tubes in nature, the DNA nanotube, while not as good at conducting, or even as strong, the DNA nanotubes make far better structural connectors because of their chemical makeup.


Using DNA nanotechnology, progress has been made in the field of nanorobotics, where specially connected DNA strands can be used as 'biological tweezers'. Another important advance is the use of 'Stem Loop Controllers' which are circular forms of DNA capable of acting as a logic gate. Series of these 'controllers' can be used to create mechanically computational devices capable of emulating complex computer systems. There is also viral nanotechnology as well.


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