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Gene machines

DNA "origami" is opening the door to the smallest structures ever made

By Philip Ball   July 2013

Clockwise from top left, Seeman’s DNA cube; Rothemund’s smiley face; a map of the world; DNA cubes with opening lids. Clockwise from top left © Courtesy of Nadrian C. Seeman, New York University; © Paul Rothemund; © California Institute of Technology; © Jørgen Kjems, Lundbeck Nanomedicine Center (Luna)

James Watson and Francis Crick’s paper in Nature on the structure of DNA, published 60 years ago, anticipated the entire basis of modern genetics. The structure they postulated is both iconic and beautiful: a double helix, composed of two entwined strands of conjoined molecular material,…

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