"Designing new proteins from scratch has been a hit-or-miss activity. It’s easy enough to write any desired DNA code, but researchers have had no way of knowing how the novel strings of amino acids encoded by this DNA would fold into complex 3D shapes. That’s a problem, because for proteins, shape dictates function. Recently, however, computational biologists have made heady progress in designing computer programs that accurately predict how designer proteins will fold. Those advances made possible this year’s surge in designer proteins."