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ncfcyank19 10-19-2006 09:38 AM

DNA Computer?!
 
We're all gonna die. They've already started.

Quote:

The first game-playing DNA computer has been revealed - an enzyme-powered tic-tac-toe machine that cannot be beaten.

The human player makes his or her moves by dropping DNA into 3 by 3 square of wells that make up the board. The device then uses a complex mixture of DNA enzymes to determine where it should place its nought or cross, and signals its move with a green glow.

The device, dubbed MAYA, was developed by Milan Stojanovic, at Columbia University in New York, and Darko Stefanovic, at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Kobi Benenson, who works on other DNA approaches at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, says the work demonstrates the most complex use of molecules as logic gates to date, and "represents a significant advance in DNA computing."

More complex computational tasks than noughts and crosses could be tackled with different arrangements of the enzymes. But the pair acknowledge that the approach will never rival silicon computers, because human action is needed to operate the gates in system and it is not reusable.

"It's lovely work," says Peter Bentley, a computer scientist linked to University College London. But he notes that a system that cannot be extended much further than playing tic-tac-toe "is merely a novelty". Stojanovic and Stefanovic are aware of this and are now focusing on developing simple decision-making solutions that can operate in vivo. Molecules could, for example, assess faults in a living cell and then either kill or repair it.


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