Computer Model Enables the Most Complex 3D DNA Shapes Ever Produced
Because DNA is so stable and can easily be programmed by changing its sequence, many scientists see it as a desirable building material for nanoscale structures. MIT biological engineers have created a new computer model that allows them to design the most complex three-dimensional DNA shapes ever produced, including rings, bowls, and geometric structures such as icosahedrons that resemble viral particles. The computer algorithm can take sequences of DNA scaffold and staple strands and predict the 3D structure of arbitrary programmed DNA assemblies. This design program could allow researchers to build DNA scaffolds to anchor arrays of proteins and light-sensitive molecules called chromophores that mimic the photosynthetic proteins found in plant cells, or to create new delivery vehicles for drugs.