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Researchers use DNA strands to create nanobot computer inside living animal

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Posted April 11, 2014
Researchers use DNA strands to create nanobot computer inside living animal
Atomic force microscope images of robot architectures. Credit: (c) Nature Nanotechnology(2014) doi:10.1038/nnano.2014.58
A team of researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel has successfully demonstrated an ability to use strands of DNA to create a nanobot computer inside of a living creature—a cockroach. In their paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers describe how they created several nanobot structures using strands of DNA, injected them into a living cockroach, then watched as they worked together as a computer to target one of the insects cells.

 

Prior research has shown that DNA strands can be programmable, mimicking circuits and even solving simple math problems. The team in Israel has now extended that work to show that such programmability can be used inside of a living organism to perform work, such as destroying cancer cells.

DNA strands can be programmed because of their natural tendency to react to different proteins. In this new effort, the team unwound DNA strands and then tied them together in an origami type box structure. The box was then “filled” with a single chemical molecule. Next, other such objects were created for the purpose of interacting with both the box structure and certain proteins found inside of the cockroach. The whole point was to create multiple scenarios in which the box would open automatically upon colliding with certain proteins. Adding multiple nanostructures allows for increasing the number of possibilities.

 

Read more at: Phys.org

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