DNA nanobots can assemble particles, follow instructions

Two independent teams of research pioneers report today that they were each able to make a crude DNA nanobot, creating microscopic workers that could be chemically directed to coordinate efforts or programmed to execute the simple orders of their scientific masters. At NYU investigators used DNA molecules to make tiny devices that assembled gold particles while another group at Columbia made DNA robots that could be directed to execute a simple set of moves.

The breakthrough takes the scientific community one big step down the path to a new age of nanotech machines that can be used to create new chemical compounds or travel through the body in the bloodstream, notes the Wall Street Journal. And that could help revolutionize the world of drug delivery and disease monitoring.

"In the future, this could be used as a molecular machine that could bind to a cell surface, maybe carry a cargo and release something," biochemist Hao Yan at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University tells the Journal.

"Here we can see some glimmers of things to come," said Harvard University biophysicist William Shih. "This is exciting."

- here's the article from the Wall Street Journal