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Bacteria that do logic

A team engineers microbes to perform AND, OR, NAND and NOR logic operations

12:57pm, October 16, 2008

If the planet Vulcan had microbes, they might look something like this. Scientists have engineered bacteria that can perform four basic operations of logic: AND, OR, NAND and NOR.

By combining these logic units in various ways, it could be possible to engineer microbes with an internal “decision tree” logic that controls their behaviors. The technique, which is described in the Oct. 17 Science, could give scientists a new level of control when designing microbes for a variety of uses, such as fermenting biofuels or producing pharmaceuticals.

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