The software of life has now been woven into smiley faces, snowflakes and stars.
Caltech researcher Paul Rothemund calls his new technique “DNA origami,” and he can weave any two-dimensional shape or pattern using DNA molecules. The technology could one day be used to construct tiny chemical factories or molecular electronics by attaching proteins and inorganic components to DNA circuit boards.
Before he works with real DNA, Rothemund uses a computer to design the shapes and patterns and to determine the snippets of DNA code for the staples. He says the design program is so simple high school students could use it.
When heated in a salt solution, the long DNA strand and the staples come together automatically to form the desired shape.
I saw this a couple of days ago but didn’t post my thoughts about it. It got me thinking about Artificial Life. Then I saw this…
It’s a simple little virus — so simple that biologists often refer to it as a “particle” rather than organism, so small and primitive that it can only proliferate in a cell that’s already been hijacked by another virus. But a recent simulation of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus is also a striking first. There’s never been a computer simulation of an entire life form at atomic detail. Until now.
And this story just crossed my desk a few hours ago…
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have published findings that show, for the first time, that bone cells can grow and proliferate on a scaffold of carbon nanotubes.
Bone cells appear as a clump at left, carbon nanotubes appear on the right. (Image courtesy of University of California – Riverside)
And so extropian trends continue.