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September 16th, 2004
RNA can act as a new and versatile construction material for nanotechnology, researchers in the USA claim. They have found that RNA molecules can be programmed to assemble into rings, small triangular clusters, long strands and three-dimensional arrays.
In nature, RNA molecules exhibit a variety of functions, being involved for example in enzyme-like catalysis, readout of DNA, and packaging of DNA into compact forms. Peixuan Guo and colleagues at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, speculate that their artificial RNA assemblies might be able to develop similar functions, as well as serving as a nanoscale scaffolding for the positioning of other molecules.
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