Increasing complexity in wireframe DNA nanostructures

Petteri Piskunen, Sami Nummelin, Boxuan Shen, Mauri A. Kostiainen, Veikko Linko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
164 Downloads (Pure)


Structural DNA nanotechnology has recently gained significant momentum, as diverse design tools for producing custom DNA shapes have become more and more accessible to numerous laboratories worldwide. Most commonly, researchers are employing a scaffolded DNA origami technique by “sculpting” a desired shape from a given lattice composed of packed adjacent DNA helices. Albeit relatively straightforward to implement, this approach contains its own apparent restrictions. First, the designs are limited to certain lattice types. Second, the long scaffold strand that runs through the entire structure has to be manually routed. Third, the technique does not support trouble-free fabrication of hollow single-layer structures that may have more favorable features and properties compared to objects with closely packed helices, especially in biological research such as drug delivery. In this focused review, we discuss the recent development of wireframe DNA nanostructures—methods relying on meshing and rendering DNA—that may overcome these obstacles. In addition, we describe each available technique and the possible shapes that can be generated. Overall, the remarkable evolution in wireframe DNA structure design methods has not only induced an increase in their complexity and thus expanded the prevalent shape space, but also already reached a state at which the whole design process of a chosen shape can be carried out automatically. We believe that by combining cost-effective biotechnological mass production of DNA strands with top-down processes that decrease human input in the design procedure to minimum, this progress will lead us to a new era of DNA nanotechnology with potential applications coming increasingly into view.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1823
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • Algorithmic design
  • Biomaterials
  • Computer-aided design
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • DNA origami
  • Meshing
  • Nanofabrication
  • Self-assembly
  • Top-down
  • Wireframe structures


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