Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) researchers have developed DNA-based logic gates that could carry out calculations inside the body and may lead to injectable biocomputers programmed to target diseases as they arise. "The biocomputer would sense biomarkers and immediately react by releasing counter-agents for the disease," says HUJ's Itamar Willner.
The logic gates are formed from short strands of DNA and their complementary strands, in conjunction with some molecular machinery, mimic their electronic equivalent. Two strands act as the input—each represents a one when present or a zero when absent. DNA computing allows calculations to be carried out in parallel, if different types of logic gates are represented by different ingredients.
The HUJ team also was able to create logic gates that calculate in sequence. The HUJ system reforms after every step, enabling long sequences of calculations to be carried out. "Being enzyme-free, it has potential in future diagnostic and medical applications," says the Weizmann Institute of Science's Benny Gil.
From New Scientist
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