Materials need to be specially engineered to interface with cells; on the other hand, cells provide great inspiration for new material designs. Here, using examples mainly from our own research, we demonstrate that DNA can be used as both a genetic and generic material for various cell-related applications, including diagnostics, drug delivery, cell culture, protein production, and immuno-modulation. We envision that other cell-based materials such as RNA, proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids can be more pervasively employed in materials science and engineering.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(12)70089-5