Professor: Itai Cohen
Project Description: Self-replication is central to biological life for long-term sustainability and evolutionary adaptation. Rare discovery has been reported for non-biological systems. We propose to use magnetic DNA analogue, which has encoded information in panels connected by an elastic backbone that links these panels in specific sequences for specific binding analogue to the Watson-Crick base pairing in DNA. The idea for self-replication is tuning the magnetic interaction between panels by the thickness of spacers made of thermoresponsive polymer, i.e., Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), which shrinks at high temperature and expands at low temperature. With a given sequence of magnetic strand, single compositional panels first self-assemble with the strand forming many coupling strands at high temperature. As we decrease the temperature, the magnetic interaction between pairing panels on different strands decreases, therefore the strands detach from each other with the copied information conserved.