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Scientists Create First Genetically Evolved Chip Material

By - Source: UCSB | B 12 comments

There may be an unexpected solution for the challenge of shrinking transistor sizes.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, say they have succeeded in growing new mineral architectures by "directing the evolution" silicateins, which are the proteins responsible for the formation of silicon skeletons in marine sponges. For the first time, it was shown that it is possible to develop the enzymatic synthesis of a semiconductor using genetic engineering and molecular evolution. The implication? Companies may be able to use DNA information to develop their own "specialized" materials.

The key to the research was the use of silicateins, which are genetically encoded and are used as a blueprint for the creation of silica skeletons. According to the UCSB researchers, the process is very similar to the way animal and human bones are formed. In their study, polystyrene microbeads coated with specific silicateins were "put through a mineralization reaction by incubating the beads in a water-in-oil emulsion that contained chemical precursors for mineralization." As the silicateins reacted with the dissolved metals, "they precipitated them, integrating the metals into the resulting structure and forming nanoparticles of silicon dioxide or titanium dioxide." The result was the creation of a silicatein gene pool that enabled the researchers to pick silicateins with the specific properties they were looking for.

"This genetic population was exposed to two environmental pressures that shaped the selected minerals: The silicateins needed to make materials directly on the surface of the beads, and then the mineral structures needed to be amenable to physical disruption to expose the encoding genes," said Lukmaan Bawazer, the author a corresponding paper that is published in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The beads that exhibited mineralization were sorted from the ones that didn't, and then fractured to release the genetic information they contained, which could either be studied, or evolved further."

Bawazer said that he is now trying to evolve to evolve the research result into a functional device.

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  • 14 Hide
    gilgamex , June 18, 2012 12:45 PM
    Did anyone fully understand the actually terminology used for this whole explanation? *_*
  • 11 Hide
    g-thor , June 18, 2012 4:05 PM
    Quote:
    and form the silicat skeleton.


    So I have to ask - is a silicat similar to a lolcat?
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    gilgamex , June 18, 2012 12:45 PM
    Did anyone fully understand the actually terminology used for this whole explanation? *_*
  • 0 Hide
    serendipiti , June 18, 2012 1:24 PM
    gilgamexDid anyone fully understand the actually terminology used for this whole explanation? *_*


    For what I understand they use proteins which are catalysts and form the silicat skeleton. Because these proteins are a group of different proteins with different properties, they are trying to separate them based upon their chemical properties (by looking which ones react with some metals and which not).
    The DNA thing comes from the fact that usually you want some kind of bacteria or living being which will synthesize that protein (which is done following the sequences in DNA: and so the DNA manipulation to get the proper protein which will generate the proper material.

    not sure if this will help ;) 

  • -7 Hide
    ik242 , June 18, 2012 1:59 PM
    gilgamexDid anyone fully understand the actually terminology used for this whole explanation? *_*

    what exactly is not clear?
  • -1 Hide
    hannibal , June 18, 2012 2:03 PM
    So you can custom made just any material or even invent new... It is allmost scary...
    Nice to see what purposes they will use these new materials. There are numerous things that this can be usefull!
  • 11 Hide
    g-thor , June 18, 2012 4:05 PM
    Quote:
    and form the silicat skeleton.


    So I have to ask - is a silicat similar to a lolcat?
  • 2 Hide
    joeman99 , June 18, 2012 6:11 PM
    gilgamexDid anyone fully understand the actually terminology used for this whole explanation? *_*


    Yes, they took a chunk of clay, shaped it, then gave it life. It took one byte from Apple, was sued, and forced to endure the trials of Jobs.
  • -1 Hide
    punahou1 , June 18, 2012 6:16 PM
    This will not resolve the heating problem with silica that creates a limit to Moors Law.
  • -2 Hide
    blink180 , June 18, 2012 10:12 PM
    aaah some good ol' micro chip tech for controlling humans and tracking them... i say we double the investment and immediately start mass production!!! thanks obama and every fake president!!!
  • 2 Hide
    geossj5 , June 18, 2012 10:33 PM
    gilgamexDid anyone fully understand the actually terminology used for this whole explanation? *_*


    Well..when you plagiarize most of the content from science daily the terminology can be a bit over the top.
  • 1 Hide
    geossj5 , June 18, 2012 10:35 PM
    geossj5Well..when you plagiarize most of the content from science daily the terminology can be a bit over the top.


    Just realized it's sourced...
  • 5 Hide
    freggo , June 18, 2012 11:26 PM
    Warning Label on future PCs:

    "May contain genetically modified CPU or GPU"

  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 19, 2012 6:53 AM
    greghomeI can't wait to try it out my bones and grow a Pentium 4 mold on it....

    Will you be able to run Crysis?