DNA and RNA Nanobiotechnologies in Medicine: Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases

Part of the series RNA Technologies pp 225-240


Nucleic Acid Nanotechnology: Modified Backbones and Topological Polymer Templates

  • Philip LukemanAffiliated withChemistry Department, St. John’s University Email author 

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DNA-based nanotechnology has revolutionized the construction of nanoscale objects and devices—primarily by using Watson–Crick base-pairing to program the self-assembly (and reaction pathways) of DNA oligomers into branched structures. However, Watson–Crick-controlled self-assembly is not limited to the use of the “natural” d-(deoxy)ribose phosphodiester backbone.

This chapter describes nanoscale objects synthesized from oligomers containing sugars other than d-deoxyribose or linkages other than phosphodiester linkages. This chapter also focuses on using the backbone of DNA as a topological guide for polymer synthesis.

As these chemical modifications profoundly affect the bioavailability, nuclease resistance, protein binding, optoelectronic, and materials properties of nano-objects compared to their “natural” DNA counterparts, they may find great utility in biomedicine.


DNA Polynucleotides Templated syntheses Backbones Nylon Conducting polymers Nanotechnology DNA nanotechnology DNA-based nanotechnology Junctions l-DNA PNA LNA GNA Methylphosphonate