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Velcro is a very normal material in our daily lives. But did you know that the same DNA that is found in people, plants and animals can also work like Velcro? That's because a DNA chain is made up of specific building blocks called A, T, C and G. And what's special about these building blocks is that they are very picky. So building block A only attaches to building block T and building block C only attaches to building block G. In our research, we use that property to make DNA Velcro. We do that by taking particles that are 100 times smaller than a hair and we cover them with a short DNA chain that has a specific sequence of building blocks. So when one particle finds another particle that has matching DNA building blocks, they stick together, just like Velcro. We use this Velcro trick to create exotic materials with diverse applications, such as smarter biosensors that can help control diabetes and diagnostic tools that can detect diseases such as cancer at an early stage. Velcro may seem ordinary, but with DNA Velcro, the possibilities are endless.

VELCRO MADE FROM DNA
BARBARA MALHEIROSPROFILE
Eindhoven University of Technology

Did you know that the DNA found in humans, plants and animals can work like Velcro? Barbara Malheiros uses this trick to create exotic materials such as smarter biosensors and diagnostic tools.

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