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Types of Nucleic Acids

Introduces the functional differences between DNA and RNA and the structure of DNA polymers.

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Nanotechnology: Now for Nucleic Acids!

How can nucleic acids be applied to the real world?

The major nucleic acids are DNA, RNA, rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA. All nucleic acids are made out of pentose sugars, phosphate groups, and monomers called nitrogenous bases (adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine, and uracil). This nucleotide pairing is a major component of living systems and can provide an amazing mechanism for engineering and designing complex nucleic acid circuits and structures. 

Credit: John Goode
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnieb/17200471/in/photolist-2wa6R-2DW2N-wArcK-22MhUa-33XD5k-3PaAeV-4adoJP-4pfQVz-667tcX-66bB5U-66bBcj-6aV2Yg-6aV2Yn-6nGmJa-6nGmST-6nGn1g-6nLwhq-6nLwum-7bs6MV-7KZrSc-bmmy2K-97JFR2-7JQMKU-8DHjAj-bnRsBd-b8SWP4-diei6d-91yhAK-beGnKg-bmmy8R-9epzdb-ajDTrj-7JMe3g-b8T2JH-bnQN5J-9jWtQJ-7JQZCu-95CAwn-95CzGz-8wzr9k-8wCrzh-8wzrjF-8wzrh6-8wzrer-8wCrLE-at6fE6-8A7Toy-ajDTAW-bnRwwm-81FAty-95FDF9/lightbox/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The DNA Sequence [Figure1]

Nanometer-scale structures are being created with the aid of nucleic acids and will be the basis of future nanotechnology. The main goals of nucleic acid nanotechnology are to use simple molecular building blocks in order to create complex structures and to enact controlled mechanical movements.

Recently, nucleic acid nanotechnology has allowed for easy construction of 3D nucleic acid nanostructures, self-reproduction of information-containing DNA nanoconstructs, and self-amassing of macroscopic 3D crystals. Through all of this nanotechnology, nucleic acids have been able to adapt to computation while the generated circuits have been able to execute as neural networks, augment signals, and perform square roots.

Creative Applications

  1. If nucleic acid technology reaches its potential, what would require special attention? (use the first resource link if necessary)
  2. How do the DNA qualities of biocompatibility and biodegradability relate to nucleic acid nanotechnology? (use the second resource link if necessary)
  3. Which pentose sugars do DNA and RNA have?


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