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World's Smallest Wedding Rings Made of DNA 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the GCAT-grade-stone dept.
fangmcgee writes "Nerd love alert: German researchers have just created the world's smallest wedding rings, measuring less than a thousandth of the width of a human hair. Goethe University professor Alexander Heckel and his doctoral student Thorsten Schmidt made the artificial structures from two interlocking loops of DNA — known as catenane — in a single drop of water."
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World's Smallest Wedding Rings Made of DNA

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  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @11:49AM (#35818520)
    When you accidentally drop it down the sink later?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I dunno. Lots of my DNA went down the drain and no one ever seemed to care...

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        I've made pearl necklaces with mine. Never really considered the potential scientific impact.

        • by erroneus (253617)

          I had a similar thought. Glad I wasn't the only one...

          "No really, that was an extremely romantic gesture!"

    • It will be much worse when she finds the rings you have do not fit her finger

  • Wedding? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @11:50AM (#35818538)
    In what way are these rings "wedding rings"?
    • They aren't... Stupid story is stupid.

      Two circular DNA molecules happen to interlock ... Move along folks...
      The apple vs. microsoft debate is that a way ------->
    • Re:Wedding? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2011 @11:54AM (#35818620)

      In no way whatsoever. The wedding ring reference was a joke made by the post doc who did this research. The press being what it is, used the joke. Then, at the end of the "article," the author makes an engagement ring joke, despite engagement rings not being the same as wedding rights at all.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        despite engagement rings not being the same as wedding rights at all.

        Actually, in Germany, they are.

    • Interlocked rings are a symbol of marriage.

      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Interlocked rings are a symbol of marriage.

        So are a pair of handcuffs.

        • Fun fact: In Spanish, the word for "wives" is the same as the word for "handcuffs."

          The even funnier reason why: The word for wife came first, stemming from a latin word that means "promise," and somehow the bond between husband and wife got handcuffs named after the term. Guess you can't make "ball-and-chain" jokes in Spanish? :P

          Plausible romantic lie you can tell to a woman: <voice class="Antonio_Banderas">That's because they both come from a verb that means "to be linked at the wrist."</voice>

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      In what way are these rings "wedding rings"?

      Make one loop from a male DNA, one loop from female DNA and imagine the possibilities ... Of course, even TFA is kinda skeptical on this point:

      Of course, the researchers didnâ(TM)t actually make wedding rings, this technique doesnâ(TM)t have any immediate practical use and the technique itself isnâ(TM)t particularly innovative. But hey, a mention in scientific literature still trumps a bouquet of roses in the world of nerd love.

      So, in answer to your

    • by slick7 (1703596)
      Now that you made them, do they go on eBay or to Hammacher Schlemmer?
    • by digitig (1056110)
      The DNA is cutting out its meat-puppet go-betweens and is reproducing directly, perhaps?
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      yes, you've busted them. They were trying to hide the fact that they have made cock-rings for their quite diminutive pee-pees, but now you've brought the blinding light of day to the blackness of the chamber of their secret, and the world will behold and mock.
  • by paiute (550198) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @11:51AM (#35818556)

    Do people buy wedding rings which are intertwined? If so, why? You can't wear them that way.

    • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

      I think that the intertwined ones are the sort that you find mounted on little plaques and such. I seem to remember seeing something like it. It's purely symbolic.

      • by digitig (1056110)

        I think that the intertwined ones are the sort that you find mounted on little plaques and such. I seem to remember seeing something like it. It's purely symbolic.

        Unlike the other sort of wedding ring. Oh, wait...

        • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

          My line of reasoning was that the other kind have more ornamental value than these, since they're actually going to be worn, while the interlocking rings are probably hung on a wall or stuffed onto some shelf where hardly anyone will see them. But yeah, both kinds do have symbolic value.

      • It's purely symbolic.

        Unlike regular wedding rings...?

        • by WorBlux (1751716)
          Actually regular wedding rings are partially hazardous. Quite a few people manage to rip a finger off when they snag or catch the ring on something. Especially common among this incidents is snagging them on a truck or tractor door while jumping out.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @11:51AM (#35818560)

    Hey, I bought you the "World's Smallest Wedding Ring Made of DNA" . . . um, do you like it . . .?

    • by rtaylor (70602) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @11:55AM (#35818632) Homepage

      Response: "Your DNA is what got us into this in the first place!"

    • Hey, I bought you the "World's Smallest Wedding Ring Made of DNA" . . . um, do you like it . . .?

      Response1: Unless it is at least 3 karates you are still sleeping on the sofa. Response2: Dear I know I said size doesn't matter, but.... Response3: Oh, look it'll go great with the condoms you buy.

      • Response1: Unless it is at least 3 karates you are still sleeping on the sofa.

        What about two Taekwondos and a kung fu?

      • Three karates will give you a black eye, a broken arm and a voice permanently one octave higher than it should be. Three carats, on the other hand, will give you anywhere from 24 hours to one year of marital bliss, depending upon how wisely you chose your spouse :D

        </pedantic>
        • Since my divorce I have found my ex-wife did have some redeeming qualities.

          She was allergic to gold, it made her break out.

          She was allergic to most flowers, especially roses.

          She did not like chocolate.

          She always had a job

          And she, unless physically ill, was always willing and ready to have sex. Even a quickie on her way out the door to work if I desired.

    • by digitig (1056110)
      "Great. Just the size for you to use as a cock ring!"
  • I understand the symbolism, but are any wedding rings really interlocking?

    Graphite is essentially a series of interlocked benzene rings, btw, so if we want to run with this concept we certainly can find much smaller examples than in TFA.

    Or are these wedding rings because they're made of DNA?

    • Google images of Turkish Wedding Rings. These traditional wedding rings are made with 4 or more interlocking rings. If the ring is taken off the finger, the ring becomes 4 interlinked rings that are difficult to reassemble.
      http://csusap.csu.edu.au/~hulbah01/Pic/r4.gif [csu.edu.au]

      • Ya, something like that allowed John Crichton to initiate his escape from the Peacekeepers, when a guard took an interest in the ring - and putting it back together - as a "field resourcefulness exercise", another thought it might be a weapon, and a fight broke out between the two... Never underestimate the power of Jewelry.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      I think the point is that they did it themselves. At some point it might well become realistic to make entire sheets of these rings, a bit like nano-scale chain mail. Which would have its own benefits when done in many layers.

    • Graphite is essentially a series of interlocked benzene rings

      No. Adjacent or contiguous, yes. Interlocked, no. Three molecules of each benzene ring are shared with another ring(s).

      Also, no one seems to have mentioned that DNA molecules are (IIRC) something like a meter long when stretched out, so it's going to be a hard-to-see, ill-fitting wedding ring at that.

      • "DNA molecules" can have radically varying lengths - a single base pair on a strand typically occupies about 3 Angstroms, but the number of base pairs in a given molecule can range from a handful to many million. Based on the quoted size (about 250 Angstroms, assuming a 100 um human hair), the number of base pairs here is probably a few hundred to a thousand, depending on how ring-like and well packed these structures actually are.

        One human cell's worth of DNA is about 3 billion base pairs, which times 3 A

  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @12:05PM (#35818744) Homepage Journal

    Geek or no. She wants a goddamn diamond!

    • No problem, just explain to her that diamond is thermodynamically unstable and will decompose into graphite anyway within a few billion years.... dramatic pause... "and I'm sure our love will last much longer than that!".

      Or maybe, tell her that it quickly converts to graphite at temperatures greater than 1700 degrees C... dramatic pause... "and our passion is much hotter than that!".

      Or... dramatic pause... just tell her you're broke.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, tell her that a diamond is just a worthless piece of transparent coal, that has absolutely no meaning attached to it, and is about as personal, as giving someone a generic $50 gift card from the supermarket.
        It's something for prostitutes and fat cat wives (that type that is essentially still a prostitute).

        If she's really that shallow, I don't want to marry her anyway.

        • by Xacid (560407)

          That was pretty much one of my barometers for choosing a wife. "You either get a house or an expensive ring. Which do you choose?"

          Remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (original)- where they sorted out the bad eggs? There you go.

          • by radtea (464814)

            That was pretty much one of my barometers for choosing a wife. "You either get a house or an expensive ring. Which do you choose?"

            Oh c'mon! Nothing says "I love you" more than an overpriced rock dug out the ground by African slave labour and sold to you via a cartel of obscenely wealthy oligarchs!

            I actually do think the whole "three months salary" thing is a great invention, though. Any woman who wants a ring worth that much is one to run, not walk, away from, so it's a great litmus test of a life partner.

    • Geek or no. She wants a goddamn diamond!

      Yes, but can anything symbolize the love you share more than intertwined rings of your DNA and her DNA, forever protected by Nature's hardest substance, set on an exquisite 24 carat gold ring?

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      Geek or no. She wants a goddamn diamond!

      And if you are realy geeky then make the diamond from yourself [lifegem.com].

  • I wonder if the lucky bride also received a necklace made entirely out of DNA later in the day.

  • I like the way it's portrayed as a "Geeky present" but the summary uses a retarded way to describe how thin it is.
  • Catenanes [wikipedia.org] have been known for some time. This is just the first made out of DNA. So the others are smaller. Which makes the story doubly-lame.
  • by ibpooks (127372) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @01:08PM (#35819542) Homepage

    Umm...married people have been exchanging DNA for a very long time.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:45PM (#35820592) Journal

    Will a paternity test be needed to get a divorce now, to make sure you're actually the father of the wedding ring?

  • ...aren't "wedding rings" the bands that 2 people EXCHANGE to signify their bond to each other? This is just two interlocking loops of DNA that someone made...now if he'd made them out of his and hers DNA contributions, then there would be SOME tie to the relationship.

    I mean, if I'm about to get married, and I draw two circles in the beer-foam on the table, can I claim "they're the world's first beer wedding rings!".

    Or even better, if I can afford to have to gymnastic hookers form interlocking naked circle

  • Research money well spent. This is the most exiting thing to happen in the wedding field since edible underwear.

  • Talk about Rube Goldberg approach! While the method is somewhat innovative, the structures have been known for at least 30 years. The catenans are easily made when preparing plasmid dna in bacteria. In a regular preparation of plasmid DNA about 1- 2% of DNA is in the form of catenan. They do not interfere with usual applications of plasmid DNA and so people do not pay attention to it's presence.

  • I don't understand why Slashdot changed the source link. This was the original URL: http://www.ecouterre.com/worlds-smallest-wedding-rings-made-of-interlocking-dna/ [ecouterre.com] It wasn't via any other site, either, which makes the switch even more puzzling.

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