Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a powerful new biomolecular computing device that could significantly advance gene therapy and cloning. Professor Ehud Keinan of the Technion Schulich Faculty of Chemistry and his team produced a biological transducer that can manage genetic codes in such a way that the output is used as new input for subsequent computations. The process works in a similar fashion to how the human body works.
Scientists are currently very interested in biomolecular computing devices because of their ability to interact directly with biological systems and even living organisms, unlike electronic computers. This new biomolecular transducer uses only biomolecules like DNA and enzymes. No interface is required, since all components of molecular computers (including hardware, software, input and output) are molecules that interact in solution along a cascade of programmable chemical events.
“Our results show a novel, synthetic designed computing machine that computes iteratively and produces biologically relevant results. In addition to enhanced computation power, this DNA-based transducer offers multiple benefits, including the ability to read and transform genetic information, miniaturization to the molecular scale, and the aptitude to produce computational results that interact directly with living organisms,” says Keinan.