California Institute of Technology (CalTech) researchers have developed an artificial neural network out of DNA, creating a circuit of interacting molecules that can recall memories based on incomplete information.
The network, which consists of four artificial neurons made from 112 distinct strands of DNA, plays a mind-reading game in which it identifies a mystery scientist based on answering yes or no questions, such as whether the scientist is British. The network communicates its answers using fluorescent signals and was able to correctly identify the scientist in 100 percent of the 27 trials the researchers conducted. The DNA-based neural network can take an incomplete pattern and determine what it represents. The researchers say that biochemical systems with artificial intelligence could have applications in medicine, chemistry, and biological research.
They based the network on a simple model of a neuron, known as a linear threshold function. "It has been an extremely productive model for exploring how the collective behavior of many simple computational elements can lead to brain-like behaviors, such as associative recall and pattern completion," says CalTech professor Erik Winfree.
From California Institute of Technology
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