Nanotechnology is all the rage these days but its use by practicing biologists is still very limited. A recent entry in the nanotechnology arena is DNA origami, a method for creating nanostructures out of DNA that is more accessible than previous methods and allows larger and more complex structures to be created with greater ease.
In the April issue of Nature Methods you will find a primer to DNA origami that provides an excellent introduction to this technology with valuable practical advice on designing and synthesizing DNA nanostructures using the DNA origami methodology. We hope that this primer will stimulate biologists or others new to this field to take a look at this technology and dream up exciting new applications.
One of the crucial steps of DNA origami is isolating your properly folded structure. A Correspondence by William Shih, one of the pioneers of DNA origami, describes some simple but very useful modifications to an agarose gel electroelution method that many people use for isolating PCR products or small DNA fragments from restriction digests. These changes greatly increase the efficiency of isolating intact large DNA nanostructures compared to existing methods.
Finally, the Editorial discusses the prospects of DNA nanostructures created using DNA origami as biological research tools.
Based on the number of posters describing applications of DNA origami at the 2010 Gordon Research Conference on Single Molecule Approaches to Cell Biology, compared to previous years the biological community and the single molecule biophysics community in particular is showing interest in the methodology. Only time will tell if it fairs better among biologists than other promising nanotechnology tools and methods.
We’d like to know what our readers think of the biological research prospects of this technology, or other nanotechnology tools and methods for that matter. Tell us what you think.