DNA nanotechnology is a new-fangled field which makes use of nucleic acid and amino acids to fabricate desired artificial structures rather than as genetic material. Also known as nucleic acid nanotechnology makes use of the DNA’s molecular recognition properties and complimentary base paring to construct rational designs.
As per the molecular biology’s well accepted theory, DNA and proteins are polymers made of repeating monomers of nucleic acid [A, T, C, G ] and amino acids [22 in number]. One among these polymers, DNA has specific complementary base pairing property that is energetically favored and this pattern of binding is used to fabricate complex self assembly structures.
In 1990S, noble laureate, Nadrian Seeman first synthesized a cube made of DNA to orient target molecules to obtain pure crystals. Progress proceeded with the synthesis of Truncated Octahedron made of nucleic acid. Winfree and Paul Rothemund in their 2004 paper on the algorithmic self-assembly of a Sierpinski gasket structure demonstrated that these tile based structures can be used in DNA computing. This kind of computing uses DNA, Biochemistry and molecular biology, instead of silicon chip technology, those are traditionally used.
In 1999 Seeman devised first DNA nanomachine—a motif which changes its structure inresponse to an input, this was improved by Bernard Yurke ,which was also the first nucleic acid device to make use of toehold-mediated strand displacement.The next advance was to translate this into mechanical motion, and in 2004 and 2005, a number of DNA walker systems were demonstrated by the groups of Seeman, Niles Pierce, Andrew Turberfield, and Chengde Mao.
In 2000, scientists at Bell Labs with collaboration to Oxford University constructed first simplest form of DNA machine that expected to function as DNA tweezers. This simple machine can be used to construct molecular devices that can perform various repairing function within a cell and also used to delivery drugs at specific sites within cell. Further, a team of McGill Chemistry Department researchers led by Dr. Hanadi Sleiman has fabricated DNA nanotubes that encapsulate and load cargo, and then release it rapidly when a specific external DNA strand is added.
This field has inspired many researchers around the world in recent years, its self assembly and flexible properties has promising application in future medicine and nanoscale structures.