DNA robot could walk about 50 steps

    A group of scientists led by Milan Stojanovic (Milan Stojanovic) from Columbia University designed a four-legged robot DNA molecule that can move independently along a given route. During the experiments, the arachnid mechanism independently took about 50 steps, moving to a distance of 100 nanometers (previously no nanorobot could take more than three steps).

    The robot route is programmed using a special matrix. Green dot - starting position, brown dots - movement markers, red dots - control and stop.

    The mechanics of walking are based on the fact that fragments of the DNA polymerase enzyme are attached on three legs of the robot, route markers are made of it. The fourth leg is required for braking and stopping on the red markers.

    The properties of DNA polymerase are such that the legs of the robot are attracted to the points of the route and cut off a piece of them. After that, this marker becomes “passed” and the leg is no longer attracted to it. The other leg automatically finds the next marker on the route, and there the process repeats. The process is very slow, but true. Thus, it is possible to ensure continuous movement of the robot along any path marked with markers.

    This is an important discovery on the path to creating autonomous assembly facilities at the nanoscale. In addition, in the future it will be possible to create molecular robots that can function in the human body. For example, delivering drugs to individual cells or making minor repairs in the body (according to Stoyanovich, this will probably be possible in 100 years).

    Scientists published the results of their work in the journal Nature. The program code of markers and other elements is published in the appendix to the article .

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