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DNA Computing

DNA computing uses DNA molecules in place of the traditional silicon solid-state technology. This particular field, often referred to as molecular computing is rapidly generating interest in a lot of associated fields.

Originally developed in 1994, the DNA computer was found to be capable of solving a geometric mathematical graphing problem. Subsequent variations on the structural concept had allowed builders to replicate various solid-state turing machines (where turing machines are basic symbolic information processors capable of solving computer algorithms in a step by step process).

In 2002, a programmable molecular computing machine was developed. Although not yet successfully a 'computer', this machine represented the first real step in advanced computational biology. Later, in 2004, the first real DNA computer was developed. Said machine, coupled with an i/o (input, output) device is capable of analyzing cancerous development in a cell and releasing medication to fight the cancerous activity.

Another field where DNA computing truly excels, is the field of parallel computing. Where traditional chip based technologies are predominantly aligned to serial computing, the DNA (among other biological computing methods) allows for parallel streams of data to be computationally processed simultaneously.

The MAYA-II ([M]olecular [A]rray of [Y]ES and [A]NDNOT logic gates) is a beautiful example of biotechnology at work. The original MAYA, constructed of 23 separate logic gates built on a DNA foundation, was greatly surpassed by the MAYA-II, developed out of over 100 DNA based logic gates. This computer is capable of playing tic-tac-toe with an opponent (not really a great leap, but certainly significant that DNA structure allows for this kind of programming).

The future of DNA computing seems to present great promise to the field of medical technology, where programmable DNA will serve as a relatively non-invasive means of practical surgery which will probably, in all likelihood, not be easily rejected by the body.

DNA Computing

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