Robotic DNA Nanostructures

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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Over the past decade, DNA nanotechnology has spawned a broad variety of functional nanostructures tailored toward the enabled state at which applications are coming increasingly in view. One of the branches of these applications is in synthetic biology, where the intrinsic programmability of the DNA nanostructures may pave the way for smart task-specific molecular robotics. In brief, the synthesis of the user-defined artificial DNA nano-objects is based on employing DNA molecules with custom lengths and sequences as building materials that predictably assemble together by obeying Watson-Crick base pairing rules. The general workflow of creating DNA nanoshapes is getting more and more straightforward, and some objects can be designed automatically from the top down. The versatile DNA nano-objects can serve as synthetic tools at the interface with biology, for example, in therapeutics and diagnostics as dynamic logic-gated nanopills, light-, pH-, and thermally driven devices. Such diverse apparatuses can also serve as optical polarizers, sensors and capsules, autonomous cargo-sorting robots, rotary machines, precision measurement tools, as well as electric and magnetic-field directed robotic arms. In this review, we summarize the recent progress in robotic DNA nanostructures, mechanics, and their various implementations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1923-1940
Number of pages18
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • autonomous devices
  • biomedicine
  • DNA origami
  • dynamic DNA nanotechnology
  • photonics


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