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Synthetic cells get together to make electronics

June 18, 2009

A network of artificial cells that work together to act as an AC/DC converter has been built. Demonstrating that synthetic cells can team up to achieve such feats is a step towards building synthetic tissues to interface biology with electronics, says the team of chemists behind the work.

Synthetic biologists have show they can reprogram living cells to make them produce drug compounds, and are even working towards building cells from scratch to create artificial life.

But that work focuses on only individual cells, says Hagan Bayley at the University of Oxford. He’s more interested in making artificial tissue in which individual synthetic cells work together.

Bayley’s group, working with colleagues at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, has made a step towards that goal by connecting together multiple artificial “protocells” so that they share electrical signals.

Source: New Scientist.

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