Networks of interacting DNA oligomers are useful for applications such as biomarker detection, targeted drug delivery, information storage, and photonic information processing. However, differences in the chemical kinetics of hybridization reactions, referred to as kinetic dispersion, can be problematic for some applications. Here, it is found that limiting unnecessary stretches of Watson-Crick base pairing, referred to as unnecessary duplexes, can yield exceptionally low kinetic dispersions. Hybridization kinetics can be affected by unnecessary intra-oligomer duplexes containing only 2 base-pairs, and such duplexes explain up to 94% of previously reported kinetic dispersion. As a general design rule, it is recommended that unnecessary intra-oligomer duplexes larger than 2 base-pairs and unnecessary inter-oligomer duplexes larger than 7 base-pairs be avoided. Unnecessary duplexes typically scale exponentially with network size, and nearly all networks contain unnecessary duplexes substantial enough to affect hybridization kinetics. A new method for generating networks which utilizes in-silico optimization to mitigate unnecessary duplexes is proposed and demonstrated to reduce in-vitro kinetic dispersions as much as 96%. The limitations of the new design rule and generation method are evaluated in-silico by creating new oligomers for several designs, including three previously programmed reactions and one previously engineered structure.
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Tobiason, Michael; Yurke, Bernard; and Hughes, William L. (2023). "Generation of DNA Oligomers with Similar Chemical Kinetics via In-Silico Optimization". Communications Chemistry, 6, 226. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42004-023-01026-w