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Scientists Create Artificial Transistor Gates from E.Coli, DNA

By - Source: Eurekalert | B 33 comments

Researchers at Imperial College in London have created biological logic gates similar to those used in integrated circuits using E.Coli bacteria and DNA.

"Logic gates are the fundamental building blocks in silicon circuitry that our entire digital age is based on," said Richard Kitney co-author of the research project recently published in the journal nature Communications. "Without them, we could not process digital information. 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."

According to a press release, the project group performed a successful test in which they showed that their biological gates can replicate the process that is equivalent to an electronic transistor gate that can be switched on and off. While Kitney said that his gates are the most advanced biological logic gates ever created, he conceded that they are not close to actually producing them for actual products.

The next step in the development are multiple gates in "more complex circuitry", which could one day lead to building blocks for "microscopic biological computers". Kitney envisions, for example, sensors that swim inside arteries, or even devices that detect and destroy cancer cells inside the body. There could also be pollution monitors that detect and kill "dangerous toxins such as arsenic".

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    kalogagatya , October 19, 2011 8:09 AM
    Well i guess this will end up giving a new meaning to "computer virus"
  • 10 Hide
    zybch , October 19, 2011 9:06 AM
    Artificial transistor gates? So current transistors aren't artificial??
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    dogman_1234 , October 19, 2011 6:24 AM
    wooooooooow...

    *stares with wide eyes*
  • Display all 33 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    klavis , October 19, 2011 6:54 AM
    Holy crap! First we get an article about a system that can turn anything into a touch screen and now the building blocks of a biological computing age! Again, holy crap!
  • 3 Hide
    Hellbound , October 19, 2011 7:26 AM
    I'm envisioning this is how the Cylons got started. lol
  • 2 Hide
    de5_Roy , October 19, 2011 7:47 AM
    watch out intel and your 3d transistor tech, here comes e.coli!
  • 20 Hide
    kalogagatya , October 19, 2011 8:09 AM
    Well i guess this will end up giving a new meaning to "computer virus"
  • 2 Hide
    stereopsis , October 19, 2011 8:10 AM
    Awesome. Just awesome. The future is here.
  • 10 Hide
    zybch , October 19, 2011 9:06 AM
    Artificial transistor gates? So current transistors aren't artificial??
  • 1 Hide
    stereopsis , October 19, 2011 9:33 AM
    Probably meant to say produced in a different fashion than is usual :-)
  • 1 Hide
    bennaye , October 19, 2011 10:28 AM
    I'd like to see Apple market their sheep-food with an A6 processor - 50% faster due to colonies of E.Coli inhabiting the chip.
  • 3 Hide
    stereopsis , October 19, 2011 10:38 AM
    Mmm...predigested...
  • 0 Hide
    cmartin011 , October 19, 2011 11:51 AM
    when will it be able to play crysis?
    sorry i had to say it
  • 5 Hide
    onanonanon , October 19, 2011 12:20 PM
    cmartin011when will it be able to play crysis? sorry i had to say it


    Actually, no you didn't.
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 19, 2011 12:45 PM
    Ensign Kim! How are the bio-neural gel packs?
    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Bio-neural_gel_pack
  • 3 Hide
    gokanis , October 19, 2011 1:28 PM
    So now when I say my computer isn't working fer $&^%, it will be for real?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2011 1:55 PM
    Yah go Green Screens when your computer crashes, hand it a tissue!
  • 3 Hide
    Au_equus , October 19, 2011 1:59 PM
    "he conceded that they are not close to actually producing them for actual products." i.e., it will be 15-20 yrs before anything useful comes out of it.
    "we hope that our work could lead to a new generation of biological processors" doubt it. There was never one in the first place and never will be. There are no real advantages that this research provides over existing tech.

    1. silicon and molecular-based circuitry is way more advanced
    2. E. coli is a living organism, thus the following factors have to be controlled:
    a. sustenance
    b. reproduction
    c. cell death
    d. mutations
    3. E coli by itself is already 2 micrometers (10^-6) long.
    a. Molecular nanomachines being built are exactly that: sizes range from 10^-8 to 10^-7 meters.
    b. intel fab process is already or in the process of mass producing IB, which is already several magnitudes smaller than the E. coli itself

    4. E. coli is an opportunistic organism. If in your blood stream, it will lead to sepsis, shock, and death. Last thing I want is an E. coli -based computer floating in my blood stream.
  • 4 Hide
    bdubdc , October 19, 2011 2:29 PM
    i, for one, we3lcome our new e-coli transistor overlords!
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 19, 2011 3:25 PM
    err, computer virus?
  • -1 Hide
    firekraker , October 19, 2011 4:00 PM
    Now I have to worry about my computer getting a cold? A literal Virus. LOL
  • -1 Hide
    ngoy , October 19, 2011 4:54 PM
    au_equus"he conceded that they are not close to actually producing them for actual products....computer floating in my blood stream.


    I have no idea which moron modded you down but I got you back to zero at least. People have absolutely no concept of what happens genetically and what COULD happen if these things happen to mutate. Did the downrater watch or read I Am Legend or see Contagion? Guess what you moron, some movies and books have some basis in fact. Go read some early science fiction novels and see how many things we have now that people only dreamed of then. Or read about the Broad Street Cholera outbreak. 150 years ago, humans didn't know that crapping near your water supply was bad. If it looks clear, it must be ok!

    We are messing around with stuff we barely understand.
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