‘DNA origami’ technology could be used in biomedical applications

The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working on creating complex nanostructures by taking advantage of the natural ability of pairs of DNA molecules to assemble. To create this ‘DNA Origami,’ researchers attach complementary strands to a long thread of DNA to make it fold up into various shapes. This creates a template onto which nanoscale objects such as quantum dots and nanoparticles can be attached with linker molecules. “We have determined what a number of the critical factors are for the specific case of assembling nanostructures using a DNA-origami template and have shown how proper design of the desired nanostructures is essential to achieving good yield, moving, we hope, the technology a step forward,” NIST researcher Alex Liddle said. Liddle believes that this technology can be applied for biomedical uses such as drug delivery and sensors.