DNA Nanostructures

This week we don't have a lab, but in lecture we learned about the state of the art for DNA nanostructures, i.e. DNA oragami. William Shih gave a pretty amazing overview, and I found a similar lecture by him on YouTube.


Holliday junction: the cross-shaped structure that forms during the process of genetic recombination, when two double-stranded DNA molecules become sepatated into four strands in order to exhcange segments of genetic information.

This figure from Cell Research shows inter-homologue mitotic junctions in recombinational repair.

Reference CAD tools: cadnano

Though we didn't have lab, this lecture inspired me to make some mechanical analogies to the construction process DNA follows, which may double and add into my thesis research. I was particulary interested when Prof. Shih talked about the DNA gantry system, and the ability to use these very basic elements to fabricate functional (or leading towards functional) machines. I made the following toy-like pieces that can zip together to form rigid sheets. There's a number of ways these aren't like DNA, but I'm curious if I can make a mechanical system that is more similar.

These elements can make the following structural primitives by self latching to form sheets, skipping teeth to form angles, or combinations of these and folding out of plane.