Scientists create a bacteria with programmable logic and memory
To date, the research related to computing through DNA had succeeded in making simple things like bacteria or cells independent circuits capable of performing calculations. That is, the DNA used to biological structures such as the protein chain was a set of transistors, found within electronic processors. The DNA was use to solve calculations in the same way that the processor in the cell phone or on the computer.
But there was nothing like a memory for these data to be stored. The research was able to make the very DNA of the bacteria was modify to store the information obtained in processing. The organizational structure is fairly unchanging, millions of years are required for evolution to promote a simple change and this memory becomes persistent.
Here comes the intelligence of research Siuti Piro and colleagues. With the persistent memory mounted on the same DNA of the cell, the organism is able to store data about the order of events, the calculations and the stimulus and actions corresponding to each of them. As of now, with the memory of DNA, a biological computer works while alive indefinitely and being able to solve the same calculations. They tested the biological computer memory for 90 generations of bacterias and succeeded in all.
The biological applications of computers are vast and incredible. Since environmental sensors, very sensitive to any changes in the environment, and even a tremendous revolution in medicine, with drugs designed with precision never before possible. One of the most advanced research on the application of biological computation is to be possible to employ this type of system in the manufacture of biofuel.
However, there are issues that generated polemics on these researchs. A lack of process engineering of DNA from a bacterium, for example, could generate intentionally a highly destructive creature, and that is a nice ideia to use in one of my films ! Well, maybe not but besides all of this, there is a debate on the manipulation of life and the consequences that generate creatures with highly modified DNAs could cause in human life.
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