In the world of biomolecules, none is more iconic, nor more versatile than DNA. Nature uses the famous double-helix to store the blueprints of all living forms, drawing on a four-letter alphabet of nucleotides.
Researchers in the field of DNA nanotechnology have been inspired by the seemingly inexhaustible variety of living forms nature has fashioned from this genetic raw material. The field seeks to emulate nature's creative enterprise and even extend the possibilities of DNA architecture beyond what nature has created.
In a new study, Hao Yan and his colleagues Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Petr Sulc, explore a basic building block used in the fabrication of many DNA nanoforms. Known as a Holliday junction, this nexus of two segments of double stranded DNA has been used to form elaborate, self-assembling crystal lattices at the nanometer scale, (or roughly 1/75,000th the width of a human hair).
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