Navigation Links
The world's smallest wedding rings

This release is available in German.

FRANKFURT. Creating artificial structures from DNA is the objective of DNA nanotechnology. This new discipline, which combines biology, physics, chemistry and material science makes use of the ability of the natural DNA-strains' capacity for self assembly. Smileys or small boxes, measuring only 10s of nanometers (10 one-billionths of a meter) were created from DNA in a drop of water. Prof Alexander Heckel and his doctoral student Thorsten Schmidt from the "Cluster of Excellence for Macromolecular Complexes" at Goethe University were able to create two rings of DNA only 18 nanometers in size, and to interlock them like two links in a chain. Such a structure is called catenan, a term derived from the Latin word catena (chain). Schmidt, who got married during the time he was working on the nano-rings, believes that they are probably the world's smallest wedding rings.

From a scientific perspective, the structure is a milestone in the field of DNA nanotechnology, since the two rings of the catenan are, as opposed to the majority of the DNA nanoarchitechtures that have already been realized, not fixed formations, but depending on the environmental conditions freely pivotable. They are therefore suitable as components of molecular machines or of a molecular motor. "We still have a long way to go before DNA structures such as the catenan can be used in everyday items", says Prof Alexander Heckel, "but structures of DNA can, in the near future, be used to arrange and study proteins or other molecules that are too small for a direct manipulation, by means of auto-organization." This way, DNA nano-architectures could become a versatile tool for the nanometer world, to which access is difficult.

In the manufacture of DNA nano-architecture, the scientists take advantage of the pairing rules of the four DNA nucleobases, according to which two natural DNA strands can also find each other (in DNA nano-architecture, the base order is without biological significance). An A on one strand pairs with T on the other strand and C is complementary to G. The trick is to create the sequences of the DNA strands involved in such a manner as to ensure that the desired structure builds up on its own without direct intervention on the experimenter's part. If only certain parts of the strands used complement each other, branches and junctions can be created.

As reported by Schmidt and Heckel in the journal "Nano Letters" (online advance publication,, they first created two C-shaped DNA-fragments for the catenans. With the help of special molecules that act as sequence-specific glue for the double helix, they arranged the "Cs" in such a ways as to create two junctions, with the open ends of the "Cs" pointing away from each other (see images). The catenan was created by adding two strands that attach to the ends of the two ring fragments, which are still open. Thorsten Schmidt dedicated the publication to his wife Dr Diana Gonalves Schmidt, who also appreciates the work on scientific level, since she was also a part of Alexander Heckel's work group.

Since they are much smaller than the wavelengths of visible light, the rings cannot be seen with a standard microscope. "You would have to string together about 4000 such rings to even achieve the diameter of a human hair", says Thorsten Schmidt. He therefore displays the catenans with a scanning force microscope, which scans the rings that have been placed on a surface with an extremely fine tip.


Contact: Dr. Thorsten Schmidt
Goethe University Frankfurt

Related biology technology :

1. Ansell Launches Worldss First Antimicrobial Surgical Glove
2. Quantum hot potato: NIST researchers entice 2 atoms to swap smallest energy units
3. Smallest magnetic field sensor in the world
4. Worlds smallest battery created at CINT nanotechnology center
5. Scientists discover worlds smallest superconductor
6. Smallest nanoantennas for high-speed data networks
7. Small ... smaller ... smallest? ASU researchers create molecular diode
8. The Worlds Smallest Hero! Rexin-G, Targeted Therapy for Metastatic Cancers
9. Signostics Receives FDA Clearance for Worlds Smallest Ultrasound Product
10. Stanford writes in worlds smallest letters
11. Smallest ever quantum dots bring real world applications closer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
The world's smallest wedding rings
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) ... the following conference, and invited investors to participate via ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual ... November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more than ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... PHILADELPIA, PA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... young entrepreneurs at competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ... student projects from each state are competing for votes to win the title of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that ... 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at the ... Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel ... Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the Board of Directors; ... external directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms of ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/12/2015)... Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan ... Institute of MIT and Harvard for use of ... discovery information management tools. The partnership will support ... both biological and chemical research information internally and ... will be used for managing the Institute,s electronic ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative ... clinical research, is pleased to announce that it will be ... (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 in ... view live demonstrations of iMedNet , MedNet,s ... iMedNet has been able to deliver time and ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015 About ... that helps to identify and verify the identity ... considered as the secure and accurate method of ... a particular individual because each individual,s signature is ... especially when dynamic signature of an individual is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):