Looks like we just got a breakthrough.
Computers are evolving – literally. While the tech world argues
netbooks vs notebooks, synthetic biologists are leaving traditional
computers behind altogether. A team of US scientists have engineered
bacteria that can solve complex mathematical problems faster than
anything made from silicon.
The research, published today in the Journal of Biological Engineering, proves that bacteria can be used to solve a puzzle known as the Hamiltonian Path Problem.
Imagine you want to tour the 10 biggest cities in the UK, starting in
London (number 1) and finishing in Bristol (number 10). The solution to
the Hamiltonian Path Problem is the the shortest possible route you can
Programming such a
computer is no easy task, however. The researchers coded a simplified
version of the problem, using just three cities, by modifying the DNA
of Escherichia coli bacteria. The cities were represented by a
combination of genes causing the bacteria to glow red or green, and the
possible routes between the cities were explored by the random
shuffling of DNA. Bacteria producing the correct answer glowed both
colours, turning them yellow.
I, for one, welcome our new bio-machine overlords.