Ever since scientists learned they could design new genes--and thus new proteins--in the lab, they have been hoping to gain enough specificity in the design of enzymes to allow the use of artificial enzymes to create new and useful molecules that have never existed in nature. Clearly, that is nano-assembly in an enzymatic form, with potential approaching anything Eric Drexler may have dreamed for his own nanoassemblers.
Elsewhere, he says:
Nanotechnologists too often approach the assembly of their nano-machines on a de novo basis, ignoring the legions of nano-machines that evolved over a billion years ago. Nano-engineers had better begin learning from the biologically evolved nanodynamic structures, or they will be made irrelevant by bio-nano engineers.
CRN does not take a position on whether the earliest forms of advanced nanotechnology -- meaning molecular manufacturing -- will come through thorough control of enzymes, through engineering of DNA, through structured polymers, through vacuum-based mechanochemistry, or some other method.
We do expect, however, that no matter which approach is the first to achieve automated, programmed, exponential manufacturing at the nanoscale, eventually diamondoid nanotech will prove to be the most robust.