The pioneer compounds base on oligonucleotides. "Oligos" is the Greek for "few", while nucleotides are compounds chemically related to RNA and DNA, nucleic acids that carry genetic information.
Oligonucleotides promise fabulously extensive practical use. They can detect bad genes and pinpoint mutations which cause certain diseases. The precious compounds can destroy the genes of pathogenic organisms.
Oligonucleotides can adjoin molecules of most diverse substances to form sophisticated structures. Thus, atoms of silver can be brought together to make molecular electric wires. There are prospects to obtain other nanostructures at the DNA molecular level. That gives the chance to render bad genes impotent or remove certain DNA fragments, as tests on plants and animals have shown.
Now, man can design new RNA and DNA molecules. The researchers have come close to obtaining gene-directed therapeutic preparations and producing genetic materials in whatever necessary amounts, up to several kilograms.
Oligonucleotide-based biocomputers may eventually appear, too, though oligonucleotides promise to be of greatest use in biology and practical medicine. In particular, they may ward off the peril of biological terrorism and bacteriological arms, said Academician Vlasov.
That sensational field of research deserves every support, reassured an impressed Yuri Osipov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences.