Researchers from Imperial College London have demonstrated that they can build logic gates out of harmless gut bacteria and DNA. These are the most advanced biological logic gates ever created by scientists. Logic gates are the fundamental building blocks in silicon circuitry on which the digital age is based. Now that it is possible to replicate these parts using bacteria and DNA, the researchers hope that their work will lead to a new generation of biological processors.
Although still a long way off, the team suggests that these biological logic gates could one day form the building blocks in microscopic biological computers. Devices may include sensors that swim inside arteries, detecting the build up of harmful plaque and rapidly delivering medications to the affected zone. Other applications may include sensors that detect and destroy cancer cells inside the body and pollution monitors that can be deployed in the environment, detecting and neutralizing dangerous toxins such as arsenic.