Simulated DNA Robots Copy Themselves

Posted 1 Oct 2005 at 04:26 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

Ain't it cool how DNA can copy itself from the protoplasmic goo found inside a cell's nucleus? Well, MIT scientists have created robots to simulate how DNA gets replicated. They started by making small robots that float on an air table like air-hockey pucks. Then they pre-latched a few of the robots in a sequence to simulate the original DNA strand to replicate. The strand to copy is signified by a sequence of yellow and green marker lights on top like GGYYG or YYGGY. Then they start the process going and watch as the little guys float randomly around the table. Whenever the robots bump into the DNA strand they try to latch on. If the little guys attach in the right sequence they stick, otherwise they release. Eventually, a strand gets replicated and then it splits sort of like how real DNA does. They've even released a quicktime video of the robotic simulated DNA replicating process that you can enjoy. I'm fairly sure that DNA replication is more complicated than this, but it sure is cool to watch the little robots do their thing in the video.

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