Scientists have collected an electric crane from DNA

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Scientists have collected an electric crane from DNA

German chemists have assembled from DNA strands a nanoscale “tower crane”, the “arrow” of which can quickly turn and move small loads.

The science
#DNA
# tools
#molecular machines
#nanotechnology

snimok_ekrana_2018-01-19_23-12-14
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Many different things can be made of DNA: scientists have already learned how to fold it into a donut shape, make figures of bears from a double helix and even a copy of “Mona Lisa” – all less than 100 nanometers in size. This time, chemists from Germany made a controllable block out of DNA – a long arrow attached to a surface and capable of describing an almost full circle in a plane parallel to the plane of the surface.


The movement of a short straight DNA fragment is controlled by a microcontroller – a system of electrodes that generates an electric field. Electricity control of a DNA mechanism is a fundamentally new solution; it used to be done with chemical energy sources and regulators. It turned out that the electric drive works hundreds of thousands of times faster.

A DNA molecule is a polymer whose monomers are nucleotides. In a double helix, in the form of which DNA usually exists, parts of nucleotides are nitrogenous bases of parallel chains, linked to each other in pairs, and in one chain sugar – deoxyribose and phosphoric acid residues are linked. The electrons in the DNA molecule are unevenly distributed; this allowed scientists to assemble a nanoscale fixation, in which a sleeve made of a DNA molecule fixed on a movable base (two single-stranded DNA molecules acted as a fastener) rotated clockwise and counterclockwise, depending on the configuration of the external electric field.

With the help of such a controller, it is possible not only to set in motion the DNA sleeve itself, but also to move small molecules and nanoparticles. However, this will require increasing the length of the tool from 25 to 400 nanometers. According to the calculations of the authors of the work, it will take a few milliseconds for such an instrument to move the “load” by several nanometers. By placing many of these arms on one platform, it will be possible to create a molecular computing machine or a simpler molecular mechanism for working with nanoscale objects.

Research results published in the journal Science.

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The science
#DNA
# tools
#molecular machines
#nanotechnology

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