The floating golden sphere, bristling with corkscrew strands of RNA, drifts majestically toward the jostling lipid bilayer that surrounds a cell. Slowly, gently, it squeezes through the layer until it is inside the cell.
Once inside a cell, spherical nucleic acids can fend off attacks from enzymes, which makes them [prospective] vehicles for delivering gene therapy treatments. SNAs also bind strongly to complementary strands of genetic material, an ability being used in commercial medical diagnostics system.
Quintin Anderson, The Seagull Company, Midland, Texas;
Chad Mirkin and Sarah Petrosko, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois