Synthetic Biology Circuits Perform Logic Functions and Remember the Results
Engineers at MIT have developed genetic circuits in bacterial cells that not only perform logic functions, but also remember the results. Image: Liang Zong and Yan Liang
Researchers at MIT have developed new synthetic biology circuits that combine memory and logic.
MIT engineers have created genetic circuits in bacterial cells that not only perform logic functions, but also remember the results, which are encoded in the cell’s DNA and passed on for dozens of generations.
The circuits, described in the Feb. 10 online edition of Nature Biotechnology, could be used as long-term environmental sensors, efficient controls for biomanufacturing, or to program stem cells to differentiate into other cell types.
“Almost all of the previous work in synthetic biology that we’re aware of has either focused on logic components or on memory modules that just encode memory. We think complex computation will involve combining both logic and memory, and that’s why we built this particular framework to do so,” says Timothy Lu, an MIT assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science and biological engineering and senior author of the Nature Biotechnology paper.