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Molecular computer runs calculations inside living cell

October 17, 2008

There are many computers in California, but only one of them is running inside a living yeast cell.

Future models of the living computer, made from the DNA-like molecule RNA, could be used to run calculations in vivo – that is, inside human cells – to release drugs or prime the immune system at the first hint of illness.

DNA shares its essential features with computers – it stores, processes and communicates information. And in the late 1990s, researchers successfully created a set of DNA molecules – a DNA computer – able to solve simple mathematical problems.

DNA computers since have since proved unbeatable at tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses), but they are not really suited to high-speed number crunching like a conventional computer.

The real strength of these molecular devices is in working and computing inside biological systems, where DNA has evolved to be at home.

Read the entire article on New Scientist.

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From → Biotechnology

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