Collaborations between nanotechnologists, synthetic biologists, and computer scientists create nanoscale tools that could revolutionize fields from cancer diagnostics to materials science
By Lindsay Brownell
(BOSTON) — DNA has often been compared to an instruction book that contains the information needed for a living organism to function, its genes made up of sequences of the nucleotides A, G, C, and T echoing the way that words are composed of strings of letters. DNA, however, has several advantages over books as an information-carrying medium, one of which is especially profound: based on its nucleotide sequence alone, single-stranded DNA can self-assemble, or bind to a complementary DNA strand, to form a complete double-stranded helix, without human intervention. That would be like printing the instructions for making a book onto loose pieces of paper, putting them into a box with glue and cardboard, and watching them spontaneously come together to create a book with all the pages in the right order.