Scientists have found a way to “switch” the structure of DNA using copper salts and an acid known as EDTA, which is found in some household products such as shampoo.
It was already known that DNA could change to an “i-motif” shape with the application of acid, but the new discovery can perform a second transformation into a hair pin structure using copper cations. This can also be reversed by using EDTA.
Hairpin and i-Motif structures; Image by Chemical & Engineering News
This DNA-based computer can be used for applications in nanotechnology, using the DNA to make tiny machines, and DNA-based computing. It can also detect the presence of copper ions, which are highly toxic to fish.