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Summary: Harvard scientists have created the first ever programmable glue, and it’s made of DNA. Single strands of DNA self-assemble and pair with their complementary strand. By designing specific sequences of complementary DNA, scientists were able to coat hydrogel cubes (that would normally glob together randomly) with DNA and watch the bricks self-assemble into the specified pattern. This programmable DNA glue provides a simple way of regrowing human tissue – an injection of this glue would allow the tissue to self-assemble – as an alternative to surgery. Because of its size, this glue is very versatile and can work for very small or larger structures; and because of its proven high specificity, it can handle very complex 3D structures.

Think About:

1. What kinds of mutations would need to occur to affect the “stickiness” of the glue? Are they even susceptible to mutation because they are not being replicated?
2. What other applications could this glue have?
3. How will this change surgical procedures and efficiency?
4. What other information do we need to know to utilize this technology?

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