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Nanoassembly via DNA
Jamais Cascio, 21 Nov 03

Scientists in Israel have built working transistors using carbon nanotubes self-assembled via binding to DNA, according to New Scientist.

Carbon nanotubes have remarkable properties, including the ability to function as conductors, resistors, and semi-conductors, depending upon how they're structured. Building circuits using nanotubes has been an expensive, time-consuming process, however. Using the biological method of self-assembly, costs could drop dramatically.

All very cool and nanotechy and still a decade or more away, so... so what?

For me, the key 'so what' is that this underscores the degree to which the key to the future will be biology. Nanotechnology, material science, and information technology are all gradually finding themselves under the umbrella of biotechnology. It is quite likely that, in the coming years, understanding how these now-disparate technological systems work will require understanding how biological systems work.

As environmental shifts (and the corresponding social problems) loom ever-larger around us, a shift towards approaches intended not to replace or control biology, but to work with it -- to collaborate with biology, if you will -- are more likely to be both sustainable and successful.


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