For most, “origami” conjures associations the Japanese art of folding paper; elusive swans and delicate animals, which require patience and attention to properly master.
However, for a growing group of scientists who specialize in bionanotechnology, “DNA origami” is the niche ability to be able to fold genetic code, creating nanoscopic materials with exciting new properties.
The method effectively works by manipulating the four bases and their pairings. A blueprint is created from two components; one longer DNA strand that houses around 7,000 bases, called the “scaffold”, and a series of shorter strands that are around 30-50 bases long.
If the designer has the technical competency, the structure doesn’t have to be limited to the standard double helix; geometric structures can be achieved by changing the base arrangement or substituting other molecules.