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We're a little crazy, about science!

DNA nanobots perform in living cockroach

cockroach

Cockroaches, not the cutest thing on the planet.

The six million dollar man has nothing on these cockroaches. We can rebuild them, better than they were before. We have the technology, and as it turns out, we do! While DNA robots may not, in itself be a new thing,a study published in Nature Nanotechnology is definitely not only new, but it’s something to talk about.

But for those who don’t know what DNA nanobots are– They are specifically folded DNA, built to open and close similar to paper origami. These DNA robots can be used to deliver special drugs to very specific locations.

nanorobots

A computer model of what the DNA nanobots look like.

This will allow more accurate and better treatment of cancers, just to give you an idea of an initial application. Actually any type of disease that might require a very specific method of delivery could potentially be affected by this technology.

When it meets a certain kind of protein, DNA unravels into two complementary strands. By creating particular sequences, the strands can be made to unravel on contact with specific molecules – say, those on a diseased cell. When the molecule unravels, out drops the package wrapped inside.

The other mind blowing part of this research, the nanobots can interact with each other and perform simple logical operations on command [such as opening and closing on command].

The nanobots carry a fluorescent tags which allowed researchers to follow where they go in the cockroach, incredibly, the “accuracy of delivery and control of the nanobots is equivalent to a computer system,” the New Scientist reported. Speaking of computers, the researchers say it should be possible to improve the computing power of the nanobots to approach that of an “8-bit computer, equivalent to a Commodore 64 or Atari 800 from the 1980s.” Not quite up to modern computing power, but hey, got to start somewhere!

The catch, this type of technology can’t be used on humans… yet. Cockroaches lack an immune system complex enough to recognise the foreign DNA. All is not lost however, the researchers are fairly certain that the technology will translate to humans with minimal modifications, meaning we could see this come to human trials in the next five years.

Then you too can have some six million dollar man tech.

Not impressed with the summary? You can read the full article — here! [Well, for a moderate price]

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