M‑DNA origami from Arizona State University are micrometer‑sized DNA structures created from smaller self‑assembling DNA nanostructures.

Benefits

  • Reconfigurable
  • Dynamic

Applications

  • Nanostructures and devices
  • Drug delivery

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

The Challenge

DNA origami is a highly programmable, promising new method for constructing customized objects and functional devices at the 10–100 nm scale. It involves using long single-stranded DNA nanostructures folded into different shapes. Scaling up this method to larger (micron to millimeter) sized DNA architectures opens the door to a winder range of applications, including metamaterial construction and surface-based biophysical assays.

Innovation Details

The “meta-DNA” (M-DNA) is a six-helix DNA nanostructure that functions more effectively than single-stranded DNA nanostructures. The researchers used a computational model to mimic the molecular behaviors of DNA strand assembly, including ‘left-‘ and ‘right-handed’ DNA. This allowed them to study advanced self-assembly techniques and enabled them to create diverse and complex M-DNA structures at the micrometer scale, including meta-multi-arm junctions, 3D polyhedrons, and various 2D/3D lattices.

Biomimicry Story

DNA assembles using specific hydrogen bonding patterns known as “Watson-Crick” base pairing. This pairing dictate the iconic double helix structure in which DNA stores genetic information. This traditional structure is known as ‘B-form’ DNA, where the double helix winds to the right, also known as a ‘right-handed’ DNA. ‘Z-form’ DNA occurs when the double helix winds to the left, also known as a ‘left-handed’ DNA.