Researchers at the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation and the Department of Bioengineering at the Imperial College London may have pushed biological computing closer to becoming a reality one day.
Using E. Coli that was altered with modified DNA, they constructed a type of logic gate called an "AND Gate" that performed the same "on" and "off" process as its electronic equivalent when stimulated by chemicals. In another experiment, the researchers showed that they could create a "NOT gate" and combined it with the "AND gate" to produce a "NAND gate."
While computer processors that process bits of information with molecules as reliably or powerfully as the processors we have currently, the UK team's research does show some serious advancements in the field.
Previous studies has been published showing that biological logic gates could be made, but the team claims that their gut and DNA logic gates behave more like their electronic counterparts. And in a triumph of nano engineering, these biological gates are also modular, meaning that they can be fitted to make different types of logic gates, possibly even more complex biological processors down the road.