From genes to machines: DNA nanomechanical devices

Nadrian C. Seeman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The structural properties that enable DNA to serve so effectively as genetic material can also be used for other purposes. The complementarity that leads to the pairing of the strands of the DNA double helix can be exploited to assemble more complex motifs, based on branched structures. These structures have been used as the basis of larger 2D and 3D constructions. In addition, they have been used to make nanomechanical devices. These devices range from DNA-based shape-shifting structures to gears and walkers, a DNA-stress gauge and even a translation device. The devices are activated by mechanisms as diverse as small molecules, proteins and, most intriguingly, other molecules of DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Biochemical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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