DNA: not merely the secret of life 1

Published on November 30, 2016   41 min

A selection of talks on Biochemistry

Please wait while the transcript is being prepared...
My name is Nadrian Seeman, better known as Ned. And I'm a professor at New York University in the chemistry department. What I'm going to be discussing today, is a field that originated in our laboratory and has been growing rapidly in recent years, ever since the turn of the century, and it's called structural DNA nanotechnology.
What we do, is we use the information in DNA molecule to make shapes and machines and even crystals. And we're hoping that there are going to be a large number of applications of this approach in future years. We do not talk here about the role of this approach in living systems but strictly as a chemical approach to controlling molecular structure in the finest possible way in three dimensions.
So this slide shows a series of organisms. Everybody who's watching this knows that DNA is the genetic material of all of them, the plants, the animals, the people. And for the rest of the talk, I want you to forget that DNA has a genetic role.
So the slide shown here is a chandelier in the cemetery of the Capuchin monastery in Rome. So what we have done here is captured an example of taking a natural material, namely bones, and organizing them in a way that is not the conventional way to organize them, not the way a skeleton usually looks, but rather form an unnatural object, in this case the chandelier, so that we have an arrangement of matter that we've created with the bones, but the bones themselves are not what we're going to be discussing, but rather the way that we organize them.