New computer uses DNA-soup to do multiplications: Center leader Kurt Gothelf publishes in Nature Communications

A new DNA-computer can multiply two numbers by letting DNA-strands fuse. In collaboration with four colleagues from the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics på Chinese Academy of Sciences center leader Kurt Gothelf from Centre for DNA Nanotechnology (CDNA) has developed the method which uses DNA’s enormous potential for data storage that can be a step on the way for disease preventing computers.

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nature_dna_origami_billede_1_0What makes the DNA-computer and the research result sensational is the way it arrives at the result that three times four is twelve.

In the research project that was recently published in an article in Nature Communications, the research group uses a method unique to DNA-DNA-computers. The computer does not find the answer by calculation, but by letting the input three and four fuse with the answer twelve – physically.

See also CDNA cover paper from Nature Nanotechnology (published October, 2015)

According to the researchers the method provides a bettter utilization of the enormous potential for storage of the molecule’s data.

kurt gothelf»With our system it is possible to utilize the entire information quantity the DNA strand contains, and in this way our system can process much larger quantities of information than other DNA based systems,« says center leader Kurt Vesterager Gothelf, professor at the Chemistry Department at Aarhus University and co-author of the paper.



The Potential

With a smile Kurt Vesterager Gothelf admits that DNA computer’s calculation time for simple multiplication cannot compete with a the old school calculater or even mental arithmetic, but it is the potential that is interesting: Whereas ordinary computers can only store information asones and zeros, DNA-molecules can store much more information.

»The main potential is that in time this result can be used for disease prevention. It is possible to program cells that respond to their surroundings, and to develoop biosensors,« says Kurt Vesterager Gothelf.

The microscopic DNA computer can for instance be placed in a cell and respond to input from the cell’s surroundings with an output that releases protein instead of showing the result of a calculation.

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Via the Norwegian magazin Dagens Næringsliv

Via the German Bild der Wissenschaft