Technology and nature to become indistinguishable, New Scientist writes:
Computers made from living cells, anyone? Two groups of researchers have independently built the first biological analogue of the transistor. It should make it easier to create gadgets out of living cells, such as biosensors that detect polluted water.
Drew Endy at Stanford University and colleagues have designed a transistor-like device that controls the movement of an enzyme called RNA polymerase along a strand of DNA, just as electrical transistors control the flow of current through a circuit. Because combinations of transistors can carry out computations, this should make it possible to build living gadgets with integrated control circuitry.
A similar device has been built by Timothy Lu and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Such devices will be key building blocks in cellular machines, says Paul Freemont at Imperial College London, who was not involved in either study.
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