1,100 Words

Computers may one day be tiny enough to work inside cells, thanks to DNA. Most DNA computing relies on DNA strands colliding in liquid until they find a match. The results can be slow-going, but Duke scientists demonstrated they could speed computation up by attaching the DNA strands to a DNA nanostructure, so the strands need only bind to other DNA molecules within their reach. The approach could be used on other nano-scale surfaces such as cells to detect DNA sequences characteristic of disease or infection, says professor John Reif and co-authors Hieu Bui, Shalin Shah, Reem Mokhtar, Tianqi Song and Sudhanshu Garg.