What is DNA origami? Explain the process of DNA origami

What is DNA origami? Explain the process of DNA origami


DNA Origami is a technique in nanotechnology that involves folding DNA molecules into specific shapes. The process involves using a long, single strand of DNA, called the scaffold, to guide the folding of short, complementary DNA strands, called staples, into a desired shape. The first DNA origami structures were developed in the mid-2000s and since then, the technique has been widely used in a variety of applications, including the creation of nanoscale structures, the study of molecular interactions, and the development of new drug delivery systems.

The current method of DNA origami was developed by Paul Rothemund at the California Institute of Technology. The process involves the folding of a long single strand of viral DNA (typically the 7,249 bp genomic DNA of M13 bacteriophage) aided by multiple smaller “staple” strands. These shorter strands bind the longer in various places, resulting in the formation of a pre-defined two- or three-dimensional shape. Examples include a smiley face and a coarse map of China and the Americas, along with many three-dimensional structures such as cubes.

To produce a desired shape, images are drawn with a raster fill of a single long DNA molecule. This design is then fed into a computer program that calculates the placement of individual staple strands. Each staple binds to a specific region of the DNA template, and thus due to Watson-Crick base pairing, the necessary sequences of all staple strands are known and displayed. The DNA is mixed, then heated and cooled. As the DNA cools, the various staples pull the long strand into the desired shape. Designs are directly observable via several methods, including electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, or fluorescence microscopy when DNA is coupled to fluorescent materials.

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