“Even though engineered cells can’t do the same job as a real computer, our study paves the way for building complex constructions from these cells,” says Kentaro Furukawa at the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Cell- and Molecular Biology, one of the researchers behind the study.
“In the future we expect that it will be possible to use similar cell-to-cell communication systems in the human body to detect changes in the state of health, to help fight illness at an early stage, or to act as biosensors to detect pollutants in connection with our ability to break down toxic substances in the environment.”Combining biology and technology
Some of these artificial networks could be used for industrial or medical applications. Despite the huge potential for these artificial connections, there have been many technical limitations to date, mainly because the artificial systems in individual cells rarely work as expected, which has a major impact on the results.Biotechnology challenges the world of computers
The article Distributed biological computation with multicellular engineered networks, published in the scientific journal Nature on 8 December, was the result of a partnership with two Spanish research teams at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. The work forms part of the EU CELLCOMPUT project.
Helena Aaberg | idw
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