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A Biosynthetic Dual-Core Cell Computer

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biomaterial cores in human cells, illustration

ETH Zurich researchers introduced two cores made of biological materials into human cells.

Credit: ETH Zurich

Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland have integrated two CRISPR-Cas9-based core processors into human cells, marking a significant breakthrough toward creating powerful biocomputers. A special variant of the Cas9 protein forms the core of the processor. In response to input delivered by guide RNA sequences, the CPU regulates the expression of a specific gene, which then makes a particular protein.

The method allows researchers to program scalable circuits in human cells, consisting of two inputs and two outputs that can add two single-digit binary numbers. The cell computer could be used to detect biological signals in the body, process them, and respond to them accordingly. The cell could use a properly programmed CPU to interpret two different biomarkers as input signals.

The researchers next want to integrate a multicore computer structure into a cell, which would have even more computing power than the current dual core structure.

From ETH Zurich
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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