"DNA-BALLS", a hypothetical question

Cliff Pickover cliff at WATSON.IBM.COM
Tue Oct 22 07:47:36 EST 1991


"DNA-BALLS", a hypothetical question

Bucky balls (Carbon-60 cages) have been quite prominently mentioned
in the news in the last few years.

As probably most of you know, this example of a chemical polyhedron has
60 carbon atoms that are arranged at the vertices of a truncated
icosahedron, a soccer-ball form popularized by Buckminster Fuller for
use in geodesic domes.  C-60 should make a good lubricant, because its
cage-like structure is very stable and slow to react with other
substances.  Some scientists have predicted that the substance should
make a good catalyst, or lead to a whole new class of batteries.

Like Bucky Balls, "DNA-BALLS" are cage-like structures, where the cage
consists primarily of sugars and phosphates, while the nucleotides point
out away from the sugar-phosphate polyhedron.  If DNA-BALLS could really
be chemically constructed, can you think of any potential use for them?





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