Harvard scientists build tiny structures with DNA Legos

Tiny, nanoscale DNA structures assembled from DNA bricks

Engineers have found a new and unexpected use for the code of life—as a commonplace building material that can be used to fashion precise 3D structures, ranging from miniature smiley faces to cubes.

Most people think of DNA as the master blueprint that is carried in every cell, spelling out the essential traits of organisms. DNA is the “building block of life” only in the metaphorical sense. But scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University saw in the material an unexploited versatility, if it were to be used as a real brick. They described Thursday in the journal Science an array of molecular Legos that could one day provide a useful scaffold for building tiny electronic circuits and drug-delivery devices.