The DNA "motors" run along the tracks, and since you can program the way the tracks are laid down, the whole system can carry information the same way electrons do in a computer's circuits. Essentially it's a DNA-powered computer.
"We are really still at an early stage in designing DNA origami-based engineering systems," said Integrated Cell-Material Sciences Professor Hiroshi Sugiyama, in a statement. "The promise is great, but at the same time there are still many technical hurdles to overcome in order to improve the quality of the output."
BLOG: How To Make Nano-Origami
So what would you do with this? It won't be as fast as a digital computer for calculations, but using DNA this way is a good method for building structures at the molecular scale. The programmability of the switches means that now one can give a certain set of inputs and get the expected output - the basis for any manufacturing. Such a programmable DNA system might also make a good sensor.
The work of Sugiyama and the others on the team appeared in the Sunday issue of Nature Nanotechnology.
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