Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Biocomputers: DNA as memory

  1. Mar 26, 2012 #1
    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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    DNA computing is indeed being investigated, these are a selection of papers from the last 5 years alone

    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.
  4. Mar 26, 2012 #3
    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?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook