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Self-assembling DNA circuits could power your next computer

Tim Stevens
Sick of silicon? It is getting a bit played, so maybe it's time to shift some paradigms, and Duke University engineer Chris Dwyer thinks that pure proteins deoxyribonucleic acids are where it's at. He's demonstrated a way to force DNA to create shapes all by itself, a process he likens to a puzzle that puts itself together:
It's like taking pieces of a puzzle, throwing them in a box and as you shake the box, the pieces gradually find their neighbors to form the puzzle. What we did was to take billions of these puzzle pieces, throwing them together, to form billions of copies of the same puzzle.
Right now the waffle-shaped structures he can form aren't particularly useful, but going forward the hope is that nearly any type of circuitry could be made to build itself in massive quantities at next to no cost. It sounds exciting, promising, almost utopian -- exactly the kind of research that we usually never hear of again.

Update: We've had a few people commenting on the inaccuracy of the word "proteins" above, so it's been fixed and we hereby invite all you armchair molecular biologists to get back to curing cancer already.

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