PerspectiveMaterials Science

Nucleic Acid Nanotechnology

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Science  17 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5704, pp. 2048-2049
DOI: 10.1126/science.1106754

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Nucleic acids are increasingly used to build nanometer-scale structures that may be used in future nanotechnology devices. In his Perspective, Yan identifies two key goals in this area: to perform controlled mechanical movements, and to produce complex structures from simple molecular building blocks. He highlights the reports of Liao and Seeman, whose ribosome-like DNA devices mimic nature's biological motors to create nanometer-scale machines, and of Chworos et al., who create nanometer-scale materials by organizing RNA components into precisely controlled ensembles. Yan identifies several areas, such as error correction and scaled-up self-assembly, that require particular attention if the potential of nucleic acid-based nanotechnology is to be fulfilled.