Snappy DNA: Long strand folds into octahedron | Science News

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Snappy DNA: Long strand folds into octahedron

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10:01am, February 11, 2004

DNA may embody the blueprint of life, but it could also be the stuff of future nanotechnologies. In a feat of molecular engineering, scientists recently designed a strand of DNA that can spontaneously fold into an octahedron.

Although scientists have made three-dimensional geometric shapes out of DNA before, those structures have readily deformed, says molecular biologist Gerald Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. In contrast, his lab's new octahedron is extremely rigid and could serve as a reliable nanoscale component. The structure has eight triangular faces and resembles two pyramids attached at their bases.

The rigidity of the octahedron comes not only from its overall geometry but also from the brawn of its 12 DNA struts. Each strut consist

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