Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Scientists working on small, controllable motor made of DNA

Researchers at Purdue are in very early stages of development for a motor-like, DNA-based molecule that can move across the surface of nanotubes. The motors are fueled by energy produced from RNA molecules and the hope is that someday they will be able to deliver drugs.

In living cells, protein-based motors transport cargo by inching along tubes within the cell, according to the team's abstract in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. By changing its shape and binding to consecutive parts of the tube's surface, these natural molecules are able to travel as far as a micrometer (1,000 nanometers) by taking steps of 8 nanometers at a time. 

Although the synthetic motors are much slower than natural ones and the concept is still in very early stages of development, this could one day revolutionize drug delivery. What type of manufacturing and chemical processing do you think would benefit the most from this type of technology? 

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