News of the WeekDNA COMPUTING

Hairpins Trigger an Automatic Solution

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Science  19 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5469, pp. 1152-1153
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5469.1152

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DNA, the alphabet of life, can also spell out the solutions to tough computations, but so far experiments in "DNA computing" have required lots of old-fashioned, shake-the-test-tube lab work for each step in the calculation. Now, however, as reported on page 1223, researchers have made a DNA computation run more or less by itself by taking advantage of the molecule's penchant for twisting itself into knots.