Open-source 3D DNA origami

Open-source 3D DNA origami

So. Incredibly. Cool.

What is DNA Origami?
DNA origami is a powerful method for constructing DNA objects. It involves taking a long, single-stranded DNA backbone (usually about 7000 bases in length) and forcing it to adopt an arbitrary shape using hundreds of short, single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides (each usually 20 to 50 bases long). This method was developed by Caltech scientist Paul Rothemund and published in the 16 March 2006 Nature cover story Folding DNA to create nanoscale shapes and patterns.

In a process that is not yet well-understood, DNA origami structures are typically assembled through a process of heat denaturation followed by gradual cooling. More details about the method can be found in various publications.

caDNAno is made for designing DNA origami.
caDNAno is open-source software based on the Adobe AIR platform for design of three-dimensional DNA origami nanostructures. It was written with the goal of providing a fast and intuitive means to create and modify DNA origami designs. You can learn how to use it, download a copy of the program and some example designs, or even modify the source code.

The software makes heavy use of several fantastic open-source libraries and resources, especially Papervision3D for 3D rendering, Michael Baczynski‘s AS3 data structures and tutorials, the Tango Desktop Project for icons, and the Blueprint CSS framework for this website.

caDNAno [via @timoreilly]

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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