Researchers Create DNA Logic Circuits

The California Institute of Technology is reporting that researchers there have created DNA logic circuits that work in test tubes, paving the way for future advances in DNA computing. DNA computing, the idea of using DNA to solve complex mathematical problems and calculations, based on the way DNA intracts, has the promise of being far faster than existing silicon-based computers. In the current issue of the journal Science, a Caltech group is reporting that they have created DNA circuits that work in salt water. The group, led by computer scientists Erik Winfree, is using encoding of signals using short DNA molecules, which then interact in a solution to do fundamental logic operations, like AND, OR, and NOT -- the same building blocks used in existing computers for writing computer code. According to the group, the advance could be useful for synthetic biology, or towards creating technology for embedding intelligence in chemical or biomedical systems.