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 October 23, 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 October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inflation remains well under control according to the latest consumer price index, giving the Federal Reserve more room to keep interest rates low for awhile. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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