DNA based synthetic molecular walkers are reminiscent of biological protein motors. They are powered by hybridization with fuel strands, environment induced conformational transitions, and covalent chemistry of oligonucleotides. Recent developments in experimental techniques enable direct observation of individual walkers with high temporal and spatial resolution. The functionalities of state-of-the-art DNA walker systems can thus be analyzed for various applications. Herein we review recent progress on DNA walker principles and characterization methods, and evaluate various aspects of their functions for future applications.
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