'DNA Motor' Breaks Nano Machine Speed Record

Emory University  researchers say they have created the fastest DNA nano motor to date, through a technique known as "DNA origami." The research could provide a blueprint for how to optimize the design of motors at the nanoscale. Making things out of DNA, nicknamed DNA origami, takes advantage of the natural affinity for some DNA bases to pair up with one another. By moving around the sequence of letters on the strands, researchers can get the DNA strands to bind together in ways that create different shapes. The new DNA motor is rod-shaped and uses RNA fuel to roll persistently in a straight line, without human intervention, at speeds up to 100 nanometers per minute. This is up to 10 times faster than previous DNA motors. The new motor helps pave the way for "nano bots" to enter the body to diagnose and treat diseases. “Nanoscale motors have tremendous potential for applications in biosensing, in building synthetic cells, and also for molecular robotics,” says Emory researcher Khalid Salaita.