Pretty much anything can be a computer, if it can compute logical functions, store data, and transmit information -- evenliving cells. A team at Stanford University has accomplished one of the the final tasks necessary to turn cells into working computers: They've created a biological transistor, called a transcriptor, that uses DNA and RNA instead of electrons and responds to logical functions.
Drew Endy, an assistant professor of bioengineering, has previously made other vital contributions to biocomputing. Last year, his lab developed a "biological Internet" that can transmit genetic information between cells, as well as arewritable data storage systemfor DNA.
Building a system withlogic gatesthat can compute true-false answers from biochemical information is the third component in creating a biological computer. The work is detailed online inScience.
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