A group of scientists at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering recently conducted an experiment in which they trained strands of DNA to assemble together Voltron-style to create intricate living structures based on certain instructions.
I don't entirely understand what this means, but here's how they explained it in an upcoming scientific paper from the journal of Biology:
Using a library of ~2000 strands [of DNA origami] that can be combinatorially assembled to yield any of ~1e48 distinct DNA origami slats, we realize five-gigadalton structures composed of >1000 uniquely addressable slats, and periodic structures incorporating >10,000 slats. Thus crisscross growth provides a generalizable route for prototyping and scalable production of devices integrating thousands of unique components that each are sophisticated and molecularly precise.
Okay, so I still don't totally understand what that means. But I did see this tweet from the lead author on the paper:
Which is very clearly one of the ghosts from Pac-man:
Jokes aside, the fact that you can program DNA to form complex shapes is pretty incredible. They also trained the DNA to form hearts, which is kind of sweet.
Multi-micron crisscross structures from combinatorially assembled DNA-origami slats [Christopher M. Wintersinger, Dionis Minev, Anastasia Ershova, Hiroshi M. Sasaki, Gokul Gowri, Jonathan F. Berengut, F. Eduardo Corea-Dilbert, Peng Yin, William M. Shih / bioRxiv]