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DNA design that anyone can do

Date: 4.1.2019 

Researchers at MIT and Arizona State University have designed a computer program that allows users to translate any free-form drawing into a two-dimensional, nanoscale structure made of DNA.

Kredit: Hyungmin Jun / MIT.Until now, designing such structures has required technical expertise that puts the process out of reach of most people. Using the new program, anyone can create a DNA nanostructure of any shape, for applications in cell biology, photonics, and quantum sensing and computing, among many others.

"What this work does is allow anyone to draw literally any 2-D shape and convert it into DNA origami automatically," says Mark Bathe, an associate professor of biological engineering at MIT and the senior author of the study.

The shape can be sketched in any computer drawing program and then converted into a computer-aided design (CAD) file, which is fed into the DNA design program. "Once you have that file, everything's automatic, much like printing, but here the ink is DNA," Bathe says.

"The fact that we can design and fabricate these in a very simple way helps to solve a major bottleneck in our field," Bathe says. "Now the field can transition toward much broader groups of people in industry and academia being able to functionalize DNA structures and deploy them for diverse applications."

 


 

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