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Nano Lett. 2005 Dec;5(12):2586-92.

Two computational primitives for algorithmic self-assembly: copying and counting.

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Department of Computer Science, California Institute of Technology and Computation and Neural Systems, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


Copying and counting are useful primitive operations for computation and construction. We have made DNA crystals that copy and crystals that count as they grow. For counting, 16 oligonucleotides assemble into four DNA Wang tiles that subsequently crystallize on a polymeric nucleating scaffold strand, arranging themselves in a binary counting pattern that could serve as a template for a molecular electronic demultiplexing circuit. Although the yield of counting crystals is low, and per-tile error rates in such crystals is roughly 10%, this work demonstrates the potential of algorithmic self-assembly to create complex nanoscale patterns of technological interest. A subset of the tiles for counting form information-bearing DNA tubes that copy bit strings from layer to layer along their length.

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