Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Better Control for DNA-Based Computations

21.02.2012
A North Carolina State University chemist has found a way to give DNA-based computing better control over logic operations. His work could lead to interfacing DNA-based computing with traditional silicon-based computing.

The idea of using DNA molecules – the material genes are made of – to perform computations is not new; scientists have been working on it for over a decade. DNA has the ability to store much more data than conventional silicon-based computers, as well as the potential to perform calculations in a biological environment – inside a live cell, for example. But while the technology holds much promise, it is still limited in terms of the ability to control when and where particular computations occur.

Dr. Alex Deiters, associate professor of chemistry at NC State, developed a method for controlling a logic gate within a DNA-based computing system. Logic gates are the means by which computers “compute,” as sets of them are combined in different ways to enable the computer to ultimately perform tasks like addition or subtraction. In DNA computing, these gates are created by combinations of different strands of DNA, rather than by a series of transistors. The drawback is that DNA computation events normally take place in a test tube, where the sequence of computation events cannot be easily controlled with spatial and temporal resolution. So while DNA logic gates can and do work, no one can tell them when or where to work, making it difficult to create sequences of computational events.

In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Deiters addressed the control problem by making portions of the input strands of DNA logic gates photoactivatable, or controllable by ultraviolet (UV) light. The process is known as photocaging. Deiters successfully photocaged several different nucleotides on a DNA logic gate known as an AND gate. When UV light was applied to the gate, it was activated and completed its computational event, showing that photoactivatable logic gates offer an effective solution to the “when and where” issues of DNA-based logic gate control.

Deiters hopes that using light to control DNA logic gates will give researchers the ability not only to create more complicated, sequential DNA computations, but also to create interfaces between silicon and DNA-based computers.

“Since the DNA gates are activated by light, it should be possible to trigger a DNA computation event by converting electrical impulses from a silicon-based computer into light, allowing the interaction of electrical circuits and biological systems,” Deiters says. “Being able to control these DNA events both temporally and spatially gives us a variety of new ways to program DNA computers.”

Note to editors: An abstract of the paper follows.

“DNA Computation: A Photochemically Controlled AND Gate”

Authors: Alex Prokup, James Hemphill, and Alexander Deiters, North Carolina State University

Published: Online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society

Abstract:
DNA computation is an emerging field that enables the assembly of complex circuits based on defined DNA logic gates. DNA-based logic gates have previously been operated through purely chemical means, controlling logic operations through DNA strands or other biomolecules. Although gates can operate through this manner, it limits temporal and spatial control of DNA-based logic operations. A photochemically controlled AND gate was developed through the incorporation of caged thymidine nucleotides into a DNA-based logic gate. By using light as the logic inputs, both spatial control and temporal control were achieved. In addition, design rules for light-regulated DNA logic gates were derived. A step-response, which can be found in a controller, was demonstrated. Photochemical inputs close the gap between DNA computation and silicon-based electrical circuitry, since light waves can be directly converted into electrical output signals and vice versa. This connection is important for the further development of an interface between DNA logic gates and electronic devices, enabling the connection of biological systems with electrical circuits.

Tracey Peake | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Developing a digital holography-based multimodal imaging system to visualize living cells
03.06.2020 | Kobe University

nachricht Possible physical trace of short-term memory found
03.06.2020 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

An MRI technique has been developed to improve the detection of tumors

03.06.2020 | Medical Engineering

K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

03.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

The cascade to criticality

03.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>