We’re Doing Things with DNA Nature Never Tried

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I thought I knew what DNA was. I knew it carried genetic information. I’d seen the picture of the double-helix at least a hundred times.

Imagine what it took for us to figure that out. And the shifts in perspective that that understanding made possible.

But we have taken our understanding of DNA to another level. We’re beginning to take advantage of some of the properties of DNA that have served nature so well – but in ways that nature may never have pursued.

We build with it. We tap its capacity to carry information to enhance our ability to see and to study molecular interactions and the inner life of cells.

As a medium for nano-scale engineering, DNA is smart, tough, flexible – and programmable. New methods in DNA self-assembly enable the precise engineering of nano-scale structures to produce revolutionary devices in computer science, microscopy, biology, and more.

In this episode of DISRUPTIVE, my podcast with Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Wyss faculty members William Shih, Wesley Wong, and Peng Yin explain how and why they program DNA, discuss potential applications of their work, and share what it’s like being on the frontier of science.

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