Un catenà d’ADN

Posted on 14/04/2011 per

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Al blog Technewsdaily s’hi comenta que un doctorand alemany ha sintetitzat un catenà d’ADN, per al seu casament: World’s Smallest ‘Wedding Rings’ Made from DNA. De fet, aquesta macromolècula és massa petita per ser vista a simple vista.

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.

La nanotecnologia d’ADN és una tècnica que promet avenços interessants, encara que de moment no hi ha cap aplicació pràctica. Això sí, serveix com a regal de noces i, perquè no ademetre-ho, per sortir a les “revistes del cor científiques” i en un munt de blogs, per exemple aquest mateix.

Els catenans i els rotaxans són interessants compostos amb utilitat com a màquines molecular i nanomotors, que no queda clar si són una sola molècula o en són dues. En aquest web Al-Químicos, per exemple, estan força ben explicats.

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