Scientist at Cornell University have developed a remarkable new material, which is made out of DNA and which undergoes metabolism. One of the crucial aspects of life is metabolic activity, which essentially means that large molecules are broken down and small molecules are used to build larger ones. The dynamic material that the Cornell team developed does this and it uses the output of its metabolic activity to power its own movement.

Because this new material is created using DASH (DNA-based Assembly and Synthesis of Hierarchical), it self-assembles and can have an intricate structure, two other aspects of life. Because DNA is actually a polymer, and so are the resulting structures made from it, a good deal of existing knowledge of polymers will quickly translate to being applicable to the new material.

The consequences of this development are still unknown and may end up being very consequential for the biosciences, medical research, and clinical practice. Certainly, there will be surprises, as a material that exhibits the hallmarks of being alive will certainly be asked to perform tasks that would otherwise require complex organisms.

Here’s a video report from Cornell about the research:

Study in Science Robotics: Dynamic DNA material with emergent locomotion behavior powered by artificial metabolism…

Via: Cornell…

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