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Biological computers said to be a step closer

British scientists say they used bacteria and DNA to make basic components for digital devices, which could pave the way for biological computing devices.

Imperial College London scientists have successfully constructed logic gates, which process information in devices such as computers and microprocessors, out of harmless gut bacteria and DNA, reported. "Logic gates are the fundamental building blocks in silicon circuitry that our entire digital age is based on. Without them, we could not process digital information," bioengineering Professor Richard Kitney said. "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."

The researchers say their logic gates could someday lead to microscopic biological computers such as sensors that could swim inside arteries delivering drugs to precise locations within the body.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Greg Gibson Owner, Founder and Designer & NewTribeZ Radio

Topics: Computers
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I heard this on the UK news. Amazing! I wish I understood it better. I assume this knowledge can't be used for any more sinister purpose.


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Vanessa, your last point to me is, as with all such innovations, my very concern; the ability of such technology to be used for sinister purposes.

What is being developed is a process controller, a “gate” and to make a series of “gates” as you have in a standard inorganic processor. Therefore it is a “component” to be used and implemented to do man’s bidding. As the processing methodology of delivery and environmental examination would be the same with only the conditions under which it “acts” and that which is delivered / released varied it is easy to visualise but miraculous and horrendous applications. For instance, such “technology” could be used to release insulin to a diabetic based on a blood sugar count or it be used to release a toxin to a person of age or of a specific physical or racial type. You could for instance target a virus or genetic disease with anti bodies or given the appropriate DNA information design a mechanism to only release a toxin for a particular individual or group.

It is the “stuff” of Orwellian / science fiction doomsday novels and given the concentration of power and the social upheavals currently underway to ignore such development’s sinister side would to me seem naive.

Greg Gibson Owner, Founder and Designer & NewTribeZ Radio

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