Drew Endy and his team at Stanford University say the device, called a "transcriptor," controls the flow of the enzyme RNA polymerase along the DNA in a cell, Voice of America reported Friday.
"If you imagine a DNA molecule like a wire, with this enzyme flowing along, what we're going to do is we're going to come in with a third signal, just like a transistor, and switch the DNA, such that the flow of the enzyme can either pass through the transcriptor or it gets blocked. And that's it," Endy said.
"We aren't trying to replace silicon computers or mechanical computers, because they probably aren't going to be as fast. They're not going to be as raw-powerful. But they're going to work in places that the existing computers we have don't work. So it's computing in a new space or a new place," he said.
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