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Dna Computation Gets Logical at the Weizmann Institute


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Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have discovered a way to make biomolecular computers fashioned from DNA and other biological molecules more user friendly while executing highly complex computations and answering sophisticated inquiries.

The first autonomous programmable DNA computer developed at Weizmann eight years ago could carry out simple computations such as checking a list of 0s and 1s to see if there was an even population of 1s. The latest program for biomolecular computers facilitates logical deduction through a system in which the computer is fed rules and facts that it applies to the answering of increasingly complicated queries. Concurrent with this was the creation of a compiler program for bridging between a high-level computer programming language and DNA computing code, enabling questions to be typed simply and succinctly.

To compute the answer, various DNA strands representing the rules, facts, and queries were constructed by a robotic system and searched for a fit in a hierarchical process. The answer was encoded in a flash of green light by equipping some of the strands with a naturally glowing fluorescent molecule bound to a second protein, which keeps the light sheathed. A specialized enzyme, drawn to the site of the right answer, removed the sheath and let the light shine. The water drops containing the biomolecular databases could answer very intricate queries, and they glowed in a combination of colors representing answers.

From Weizmann Institute of Science
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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