What are RNA and DNA oligonucleotides?
To put it simply, RNA/DNA oligonucleotides, also called “oligos”, are short strands of RNA or DNA (typically >100 bases in length). Currently oligos are useful in a wide variety of applications including: gene isolation, gene synthesis, testing for genetic diseases, so called ‘silencing RNA’ is used to prevent the expression of certain genes. More recently, oligonucleotide microarrays haven been shown to have great potential for rapid high-throughput chemical and genetic screening . More recently, the finding of charge transport through DNA, has opened the door for yet more applications for oligos in molecular electronics seem to be on the horizon.
What makes a chimera a chimera?
Chimeric DNA is a DNA/RNA hybrid that contains both RNA and DNA bases on the same chain. They have emerged as useful tools for in vivo genetic engineering as the addition RNA and DNA bases on the same strand increase its stability in vivo. While this increase in stability seems to be a product of decreased nuclease recognition , our investigation has suggested that under certain conditions Chimeras may be more unstable than either DNA or RNA.
Why Use Chimeras for mol-Comp?
There are four key properties of Chimeric DNA oligos that seem to make for a valuable material in molecular electronics:
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