DNA Nanorobots Pick Up And Sort Molecules

An autonomous molecular machine, made of a single strand of DNA, that can autonomously “walk” around a surface, pick up certain molecules and drop them off in designated locations has been developed by scientists at California Institute of Technology. Lulu Qian, assistant professor of bioengineering, explains: The researchers constructed three basic building blocks that could be used to assemble a DNA robot: a “leg” with two “feet” for walking, an “arm” and “hand” for picking up cargo, and a segment that can recognize a specific drop-off point and signal to the hand to release its cargo. [Read More]

How DNA Defends Itself Against Ultraviolet Light

The ultrafast response of DNA nucleobases to ultraviolet light has been measured, using X-rays from the Linac Coherent Light Source. The UV excited state in the nucleobase thymine decays rapidly, researchers found, harmlessly dissipating the potentially destructive UV energy. This experimental research sheds new light on how the nucleobases inside DNA protect themselves from damage induced by ultraviolet light. Furthermore, the approach developed in this experiment will be useful for investigating the ultrafast dynamics of other classes of molecules in biology, chemistry and physics. [Read More]