They're here. Gene chips, carbon nanotubes, and other products, that is, that show that the science of the very small is getting very big. And in biological and biomedical research, nanotechnology--the manipulation and construction of materials and structures at sizes of billionths of a meter--is becoming increasingly important, shrinking the borders between biophysics, biochemistry, structural biology, and other life science fields while seeding new industries.

Central to this are exploitation of varied genome projects and manipulation of DNA into an easily controlled assembly tool for construction at the nano level, as a scaffolding for macromolecules. DNA arrays have opened scientific communities to new technologies. Along with new cellular probes, molecular motors, and complex systems capable of self-assembly, these technologies promise an exciting path for bioengineers.

There are roadblocks, however. Nanotechnologies cost a lot of money, and it isn't clear how to effectively build an educational and funding framework. With government...

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