World's Smallest 'Wedding Rings' Made from DNA
Few gestures manage to be simultaneously as nerdy and as romantic as this: A doctoral student on his way to getting married has created two interlocking DNA bands that he claims are the world's smallest wedding rings.
Prof Alexander Heckel and his now-married doctoral student Thorsten Schmidt from Goethe University created the structure, known as a catenan by deploying the latest techniques in the emerging field of DNA nanotechnology. Of course, the researchers didn't actually make wedding rings, this technique doesn't have any immediate practical use and the technique itself isn't particularly innovative . But hey, a mention in scientific literature still trumps a bouquet of roses in the world of nerd love.
"We still have a long way to go before DNA structures such as the catenan can be used in everyday items", Heckel said. "But structures of DNA can, in the near future, be used to arrange and study proteins or other molecules that are too small for a direct manipulation, by means of auto-organization."
Smith and Heckel created the catenan by first developing two C-shaped DNA fragments. Then with the help of special molecules that act as sequence-specific glue for the double helix, they arranged those "Cs" in such a ways as to create two junctions. Finally, two strands were added that attach to the ends of the two ring fragments, which are still open.
At 4,000 times smaller than then width of a human hair, the rings cannot be seen with a standard microscope. That should make it rather tough for Schmidt's fiancé to gauge the size of the diamond.
Colorful Poo Could Give Health Warning
10 Profound Innovations Ahead
Zinc Oxide Nanowires Could One Day Power Spacesuits