Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Technique Shows Scalability Of DNA Computing

Date:
January 14, 2000
Source:
University Of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Scientists have taken DNA computing from the free-floating world of the test tube and anchored it securely to a surface of glass and gold. In so doing, they have taken a small but important step forward in the quest to harness the vast potential of DNA to perform the same tasks that now require silicon and miniature electronic circuits.

MADISON - Scientists have taken DNA computing from the free-floating world of the test tube and anchored it securely to a surface of glass and gold. In so doing, they have taken a small but important step forward in the quest to harness the vast potential of DNA to perform the same tasks that now require silicon and miniature electronic circuits.

The accomplishment, to be reported Thursday, Jan. 13, in the journal Nature by a group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an important demonstration that shows DNA computing can be simplified and scaled up to tackle complex problems, says Lloyd Smith, a UW-Madison professor of chemistry and a co-author of the Nature paper.

DNA computing is a nascent technology that seeks to capitalize on the enormous informational capacity of DNA, biological molecules that can store huge amounts of information and are able to perform operations similar to a computer's through the deployment of enzymes, biological catalysts that act like software to execute desired operations.

The Nature paper describes the development of novel surface chemistry that greatly simplifies the complex and repetitive steps previously used in rudimentary DNA computers. Importantly, it takes DNA out of the test tube and puts it on a solid surface, making the technology simpler, more accessible and more amenable to the development of larger DNA computers capable of tackling the kinds of complex problems that conventional computers now handle routinely.

"It demonstrates DNA computing on surfaces, which provides a relatively simple pathway to upscaling DNA computing to solve large problems," Smith says.

In the Wisconsin experiments, a set of DNA molecules were applied to a small glass plate overlaid with gold. In each experiment, the DNA was tailored so that all possible answers to a computationally difficult problem were included. By exposing the molecules to certain enzymes, the molecules with the wrong answers were weeded out, leaving only the DNA molecules with the right answers.

The appeal of DNA computing lies in the fact that DNA molecules can store far more information than any existing conventional computer chip. It has been estimated that a gram of dried DNA can hold as much information as a trillion CDs. Moreover, in a biochemical reaction taking place in a tiny surface area, hundreds of trillions of DNA molecules can operate in concert, creating a parallel processing system that mimics the ability of the most powerful supercomputer.

The chips that drive conventional computers represent information as a series of electrical impulses using ones and zeros. Mathematical formulas are used to manipulate that binary code to arrive at an answer. DNA computing, on the other hand, depends on information represented as a pattern of molecules arranged on a strand of DNA. Certain enzymes are capable of reading that code, copying and manipulating it in predictable ways.

Conventional computing, with ever more and smaller features packed onto the silicon chips that power it, is approaching the limits of miniaturization. DNA computing, says Smith, is one potential way around that barrier.

But current DNA computing technology, Smith emphasized, is still far from overtaking the silicon chip. The new method reported by the Wisconsin scientists, he says, is simply a testbed for working out an improved and simpler chemistry for DNA computing.

Nevertheless, Smith says, the new surface chemistry provides an opportunity to harnessing DNA to make the biggest nonconventional computer yet.

"We're interested in scale up. We believe that based on the principles we've worked out here, we can see scaling up within a few years a factor of a trillion or more."

###

In addition to Smith, co-authors of the Nature paper, include Qinghua Liu, now of Gen-Probe, Inc., San Diego, Calif.; Liman Wang, UW-Madison department of chemistry; Anthony G. Frutos, now with Corning, Inc., Corning, N.Y.; Anne E. Condon, now a University of British Columbia professor of computer science; and Robert M. Corn, a UW-Madison professor of chemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "New Technique Shows Scalability Of DNA Computing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113233534.htm>.
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. (2000, January 14). New Technique Shows Scalability Of DNA Computing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113233534.htm
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "New Technique Shows Scalability Of DNA Computing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113233534.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Google will reportedly offer official accounts for children younger than 13 years old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 18, 2014) The virus ravaging Africa has yet to spread elsewhere. Yet Asia’s SARS crisis in 2003 showed how changes to behaviour can hurt the economy more than the actual disease, says Breakingviews' Una Galani. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter Users Up In Arms After 'Favorites' Show Up In Feeds

Twitter Users Up In Arms After 'Favorites' Show Up In Feeds

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) Twitter is testing a feature on some users that shows favorited tweets from people they follow in their own timeline, the same way a retweet appears. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins