Biological computers said a step closer

Oct. 19, 2011 at 8:33 PM
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LONDON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- British scientists say they used bacteria and DNA to make basic components for digital devices, which could pave the way for biological computing devices.

Imperial College London scientists have successfully constructed logic gates -- which process information in devices such as computers and microprocessors -- out of harmless gut bacteria and DNA, reported Tuesday.

"Logic gates are the fundamental building blocks in silicon circuitry that our entire digital age is based on. Without them, we could not process digital information," bioengineering Professor Richard Kitney said. "Now that we have demonstrated that we can replicate these parts using bacteria and DNA, we hope that our work could lead to a new generation of biological processors, whose applications in information processing could be as important as their electronic equivalents."

The researchers say their logic gates could someday lead to microscopic biological computers such as sensors that could swim inside arteries delivering drugs to precise locations within the body.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

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