Scientists create programmable bacteria

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December 13, 2010

You must have read stories of androids and humanoids in science fiction books. But here’s something different; scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have created bacteria that can be programmed like a computer. This is a great milestone on the effort to bridge the gap between the living world and the digital world. The functions that can be assigned to the bacteria are rather simple but developments in the technology can take place in the future.

University of California scientists create Computer Programmable bacteriaThe scientists created “logic gates” from genes and then put them into the E. Coli type bacteria. The logic gates in the resulting computer programmable bacteria would then mimic digital processing, thus leading to the digital communication between cells. Synthetic biologist Christopher A. Voigt said that although the controllable functions are plainly at the time, this research may open doors for cellular communication similar to digital devices. The technology can have a wide range of applications in bioengineering, agriculture and pharmaceutical industry.

Voigt further says that they aim at creating computer codes that can be read by living organisms. They want to create a programming language for the computer programmable bacteria. So a very sophisticated programming language would be required to obtain better controls over the bacteria and to assign complex functions. The synthesis of Computer programmable bacteria can be a big leap in genetic engineering.

Source: CNN Blogs

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