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  • News in Brief

    Analog circuits boost power in living computers

    Using a molecular dimmer switch that smoothly dials up glowing lights in bacteria, researchers can make calculators in living cells that add, subtract, divide, and even do logarithms.

    These analog computations are much more powerful than those of previous, digital-based biological devices, says study author Timothy Lu, a synthetic biologist at MIT.

    In biology and electronics,...

    05/17/2013 - 15:33 Cells
  • News

    Biological transistor built for living computers

    Save the clunky tricorders for Star Trek. One day, tiny biological computers with DNA-based circuitry could diagnose diseases.

    Using snippets of DNA and DNA-clipping chemicals, researchers have created one key component of a computer’s brain: the transistor, a switch that helps electronics perform logic. The biological switch, dubbed a transcriptor, could be plugged together with other...

    04/02/2013 - 17:03 Technology
  • People

    Contest brings out the biohackers

    Mix one part enthusiasm, two parts engineering and three parts biology — and you’ve got a recipe for do-it-yourself genetic engineering.

    Every November, college kids from Michigan to Munich descend on MIT, eager to show off their biohacking skills. In the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, teams battle one another to build the coolest...

    12/27/2012 - 06:54 Genetics
  • News

    DNA used as rewritable data storage in cells

    They aren’t yet competition for Intel, but bioengineers have created a one-bit “memory” made of DNA that can record, erase and rewrite data within living cells.

    One day, doctors might be able to insert such devices into a cancer patient to tally how many times a cell divides and flag when to shut the cancer down. Or researchers might track exactly what happens inside cells as they age....

    05/21/2012 - 17:39 Technology
  • News

    Flexible DNA computer finds square roots

    DNA, the molecule of life, turns mathlete.

    Using the natural zipping and unzipping behavior of DNA strands, researchers at Caltech have developed a new and adaptable method for turning the molecules into calculators. The design opens up a range of possible circuits built entirely from DNA, capable of crunching basic math problems, the team reports in the June 3 Science.

    “This is...

    06/02/2011 - 15:39 Genetics