With recent success in robotics, the day isn’t away when we shall be surrounded by numerous robots to help us with our day to day routine and make life easier for us. With an aim to build a team of robots that work together individually to accomplish a task, researchers at Caltech University have come up with a simple but interesting robot made out entirely of DNA which is capable enough to walk, sort and lift molecules.
These robots have been programmed to recognize and transport molecules from one point to another. Pertaining to this quality, these robots can be used in future for medical applications, specifically deliver medicine to a specific cell or build nano devices that can treat ailments from inside the body itself.
The study was published in the journal Science stating that the DNA robots look similar to a drunken work which has hands and legs to walk and lift molecules.
According to the lead scientist Lulu Qian who led the research along with graduate student Anupama Thubagere, they are called DNA robots because they perform mechanical tasks but at the nanometer scale. The robots have been programmed to find and collect fluorescent molecules out of the DNA based platform. The robots have been designed keeping in mind small places where humans can’t go such as the bloodstream.
The DNA is composed of base nucleotides Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Cytosine (C) and Guanine (G) which are complementary to each other. For example, the A strand from one molecule can detach and attach with T from another and same goes for G and C. This property of DNA is essential for multiplication and evolution of genetic traits.
As these robots are made up of entirely DNA, they can easily walk on platforms made from DNA. As long as their sequences of A, T, C and G nucleotides on their feet pair up efficiently, they can move anywhere they like.
While many similar robots have been invented by scientists on a molecular level, these particular robots can execute a lot of tasks from their simple structure. Previous nanobots either could walk or perform tasks but these robots can do both while keeping a simple structure which means more features could be added to these robots in future.
However DNA robots have the potential to interact with our own DNA if implemented inside our body, so it is highly unlikely that these robots shall be seen in human bodies without further studies and deep research.