DNA Computer


A DNA computer is a mechanism or system that uses DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) to perform parallel computing type calculations.

Very basically a DNA computer uses strands of DNA to represent possible solutions to problems. Within a mixture of DNA and enzymes some DNA strands will join with others to produce an output strand.

An article from New Scientist describes the key components of a DNA comptuer as consisting of "A DNA logic gate consists of a strand of DNA that binds to another specific input sequence. This binding causes a region of the strand to work as an enzyme, modifying yet another short DNA sequence into an output string." This was originally reported in Nature Magazine.

The key feature is that there could be trillions of these strands in a test tube and the reactions that work on building the DNA happens to these strands all at the same time.

You can view an animation of the process by which DNA strands are cut and rejoined. This is a bit like the process of trial and error but this is happening extremely fast and on millions of molecules at a time…