By taking Verilog, a programming language used to design electronic circuits, MIT modified it so that it could be used to program microbes. Reportedly, of the 60 circuits designed, "45 worked perfectly the first time they were tried." This opens the door to bioprogramming engineered organisms specifically designed to perform a variety of applications extremely cheaply.
Synthetic biology aims to make it possible to treat cells as machines that can be engineered and programmed. By altering a microbe’s native DNA, it can be made to perform a specific task, such as producing a drug or changing colour to detect a virus in blood. Off-the-shelf genetic parts that can be swapped in and out make this easier, but it is still a painstaking process.
That’s where Verilog comes in. Verilog is a symbolic language that lets you specify the function of an electronic circuit in shorthand – without having to worry about the underlying hardware – and then convert it into a detailed design automatically. Voigt’s team realised they could do the same with DNA circuits.
|Robotic Bees to Replace Organic Pollinators|
|Unflattening Touch Screen Buttons|
|Landline Phone Service Must Die|
|Bitcoin Vault Offers Offline Storage Service and Insurance|
|“It's not more expensive to build and it's hugely cheaper and more efficient to live in.”|
|“But what about when those technologies destroy the environment?”|
|Can a Ceiling Fan be Converted into a Turbine Generator?|
|What Nothing Really Means in Seinfeld|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|Fake Name Generator|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|U.S.S. Enterprise Owner's Manual|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|If Sir David Attenborough Restored Vintage Toys|
|“The 'last mile' to the home accounts for 50 percent or more of total package delivery costs.”|