Challenges and opportunities for structural DNA nanotechnology

(Nanowerk News) DNA molecules have been used to build a variety of nanoscale structures and devices over the past 30 years, and potential applications have begun to emerge. But the development of more advanced structures and applications will require a number of issues to be addressed, the most significant of which are the high cost of DNA and the high error rate of self-assembly.
A recent review in the edition of Nature Nanotechnology ("Challenges and opportunities for structural DNA nanotechnology") examines the technical challenges in the field of structural DNA nanotechnology and outlines some of the promising applications that could be developed if these hurdles can be overcome.
In particular, the authors highlight the potential use of DNA nanostructures in molecular and cellular biophysics, as biomimetic systems, in energy transfer and photonics, and in diagnostics and therapeutics for human health.
They outline several key challenges for advancing the field of structural DNA nanotechnology, and suggest a few potential routes to meeting these milestones. They write:
"Nature has developed sophisticated and complex behaviour at the nanoscale through millions of years of cellular evolution; we will need an aggressive pursuit of bold and forward-looking ideas if we are to catch up over a mere few decades. Along this trajectory of development, let us hope that the advances of structural DNA nanotechnology can be used by researchers in other fields, who will contribute with new approaches, techniques and expertise. Indeed, structural DNA nanotechnology has already become an interdisciplinary research field, with researchers from chemistry, materials science, computer science, biology and physics coming together to tackle important problems. As the field is progressing rapidly, we believe that exciting new directions will emerge well beyond the limited set described here."
Source: Nature Publishing Group
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