Biocomputers: DNA as memory

  • #1
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Is there any research being done on using DNA or big long protein macromolecules as machinery for memory in computing? The ability to pack in so much information in a long string of protein because of how proteins can fold is vast. Has anyone proposed making DNA that into a binary entity, like taking taking an A&T pair to be 0 and G&C pair to be 1? How plausible is this?
If Craig Venter can program a gene code then why not be able to use the gene code to program?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
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DNA computing is indeed being investigated, these are a selection of papers from the last 5 years alone
http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&q=DNA+computing&as_sdt=0,5&as_ylo=2007&as_vis=1

The problem is that it is not quite so simple. Reading a human genome costs a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, if you had to pay that much expense every time you wanted to read something from your hard drive you'd be broke pretty quickly! Until a self contained, reusable unit can be developed that contains all the necessary biochemical machinery to read, write and compute on DNA in a reasonable time we won't be seeing commercial DNA computing.
 
  • #3
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Yeah, but I want it now! All kidding aside, the only biology exposure I have is a couple intro bio courses in college and some reading aside, but perhaps it could be scaled down to little "8-bit chromosomes" or 16-bit or w.e is best for the scale. Or, I feel like in theory plasmids of these sizes could be passed back and forth and manipulated between specially programmed inert bacteria, does this idea make sense?
 

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