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Engineered bacteria become the first living computers

6:01pm, May 19, 2008

Scientists have built the first living computer and tasked it with solving an important problem: flipping pancakes.

Researchers genetically engineered the bacterium E. coli to coax its DNA into computing a classic mathematical puzzle known as the burned pancake problem. Molecules of DNA have the natural ability to store and process information, and scientists have been performing computations with bare DNA molecules in lab dishes since the mid-1990s. But the new research, reported online in the Journal of Biological Engineering, is the first to do DNA computation in living cells.

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