DNA does maths

A DNA-based computational device with variable input has been developed by scientists led by Nadrian Seeman in the US. Previous examples of DNA-based computers have used fixed systems, but here they used the same system with different settings. This means that the system could be reusable, unlike other systems that perform one computation and then can’t be used again.

prototiles for performing the computation
prototiles for performing the computation

The readout of the system is obtained by algorithmically assembling gold nanoparticles. Although arranging gold nanoparticles by DNA self-assembly has been reported, this is the first time such an arrangement of nanoparticles has been obtained as the result of a computation.  The system may be considered as a first step in an assembly of a programmed array incorporating nanomechanical devices or other varieties of biochemical, chemical or materials systems that can be organised as the result of a simple computation.

A Programmable Transducer Self-Assembled from DNA
B Chakraborty, N Jonoska and N C Seeman, Chem. Sci., 2011
DOI: 10.1039/c1sc00523e

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