Metals March to RNA's Orders

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Science  07 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5672, pp. 791
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5672.791a
CREDIT: GUGLIOTTI ET AL.

The growth morphology of many inorganic and semiconducting materials can be controlled with the use of small organic compounds or peptides that alter nucleation or affect the relative growth rate of different crystal faces. Examples of nucleic acids controlling crystal growth, or control of metal particle growth, are fewer. Gugliotti et al. (p. 850) created a large library of modified RNA molecules and selected for RNAs that could change the growth habitat of palladium particles, which are usually cubic, to thin hexagonal crystallites on the micrometer scale. The RNAs, which could be grouped into five families, exerted this effect on aqueous solutions of dilute precursors at room temperature.

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