‘Logic Gates’ Made to Program Bacteria as Computers

A team of UCSF researchers has engineered E. coli with the key molecular circuitry that will enable genetic engineers to program cells to communicate and perform computations.The work builds into cells the same logic gates found in electronic computers and creates a method to create circuits by “rewiring” communications between cells. This system can be harnessed to turn cells into miniature computers, according to findings reported in the journal Nature.That, in turn, will enable cells to be programmed with more intricate functions for a variety of purposes, including agriculture and the production of pharmaceuticals, materials and industrial chemicals, according to Christopher A. Voigt, PhD, a synthetic biologist and associate professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry who is senior author of the paper.

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