111005 - BE.342/442 Thursday, November 10, 2005 Topic:...

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BE.342/442 Thursday, November 10, 2005 Topic: Molecular Structure and Self-Assembly of DNA and RNA Administrative: We had no class yesterday – hope everyone enjoyed the movie. A special surprise on the course website: a signed paper by Francis Crick! Next Tuesday: guest lecturer. Next Thursday: lecture on DNA as a molecular machine (and the end of this lecture). Mid-terms due! DNA as a Material Is DNA a structural material? Using DNA as a material is almost like burning books to keep warm in the winter: in biology, DNA is used for information storage. Ned Seeman, a former postdoc here at MIT along with Alexander Rich, spent his time at NYU “tinkering” with DNA as if it were a toy. Last year, he wrote a cover story for Scientific American on “DNA Oragami” – methods of linking DNA to form materials, just as we use proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. The technology for manipulating DNA as a material has advanced far faster than for proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates – why? After all, DNA is far less abundant in nature, and at one time was difficult to obtain. When Prof. Zhang was doing research, DNA cost $25 per base. Today, it cost close to 10 cents! That’s a 250x drop in price! That’s because DNA is designed to be replicated, and can be replicated in a machine. Meanwhile, the biotech sector has exploded -- AmGene, founded in 1978, is now worth 30 billion dollars! DNA History The Central Dogma of Biology: DNA replication, transcription into RNA, and translation of RNA into protein. Although reverse transcriptase can create DNA from RNA, today there exists no way to “reverse translate” a protein. In the 1950’s there were only a handful of institutions studying molecular biology in the United States. One of the few researchers was Max Delbrück. Some major players in the development of molecular biology were: Francis Crick Leslie Orgel Alexander Rich James Watson Sydney Brenner Max Perutz
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111005 - BE.342/442 Thursday, November 10, 2005 Topic:...

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