Researchers in China and the USA have demonstrated how gold nanoparticles can be controlled by DNA. Jinghong Li from the Tsinghua University Beijing and colleagues were able to use short strands of DNA to template the formation of well-define nanoparticles. Without the DNA their preparative steps simply led to agglomerations rather than crystalline products. "Our work could provide a new method for synthesizing nanoparticles with predictable structures with fine-tuned morphologies for widespread applications," the team says. "Nanoparticles with complex shapes and rough surfaces have recently been shown to have enhanced performance as catalytic components and support materials for analytical processes like Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). They are also better absorbed by cells."