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Not Your Daddy's DNA

Professor Ned SeemanThe speaker onstage right now is Nadrian "Ned" Seeman of NYU's Department of Chemistry. His talk is called "DNA: Not Merely the Secret of Life." He described a number of very primitive molecule-sized devices that are based on one of the most useful molecules we know of -- DNA. These devices are considered, by some, to be the first primitive steps toward true molecular machines. Work in this area is progressing quickly, and aren't just happening on computer screens -- many of these molecules are being successfully synthesized.

I'll post a video of one such machine in a while, but first, here's a picture of a DNA-based structure:

One of Professor Seeman's slides

He said, in answering one of the questions from the audience, that he'd like to see a molecular "knot" in his lifetime.

Professor Seeman's homepage is here:

An asbtract of his talk today can be found here:

UPDATE: I've now got some more video online. This is taken from Professor Seeman's presentation, and shows an animation of molecules that are moving in a predetermined direction. They are, essentially, "walking." This sort of simple control over molecules -- in this case, molecules based on DNA -- is a useful step toward being able to position molecules, the sort of precise placement that might lead to building larger and larger things. The "biped walker" video, which is an animation of something Professor Seeman's lab has actually done -- is in streaming Windows media:


UPDATE: On Day 3 of the conference, I was approached by William B. Sherman, a postdoc researcher who works with Professor Seeman at NYU. He suggested that I point out this ScienCentral article which includes a link to the full video of the biped walker, although you'll have to get a (free) registration to watch it.

October 22, 2004 in Research | Permalink


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