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z Biological Computers

z Biological Computers

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Published by Surangma Parashar

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Published by: Surangma Parashar on Dec 02, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Biological computers, Blue gene, Face recognition technologyAbstract:Biological computers are special types of microcomputers that are specifically designedto be used for medical applications. The biological computer is an implantable device thatis mainly used for tasks like monitoring the body's activities or inducing therapeuticeffects, all at the molecular or cellular level.The biological computer is made up of RNA (Ribonucleic Acid - an important part in thesynthesis of protein from amino acids), DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid - nucleic acidmolecule that contains the important genetic information that is used by the body for theconstruction of cells; it's the blue print for all living organisms), and proteins.
The main advantage of this technology over other like technologies is the fact thatthrough it, a doctor can focus on or find and treat only damaged or diseased cells.Selective cell treatment is made possible.The biological computer can also perform simple mathematical calculations. This couldenable the researcher to build an array or a system of biosensors that has the ability todetect or target specific types of cells that could be found in the patient's body. This couldalso be used to carry out or perform target-specific medicinal operations that coulddeliver medical procedures or remedies according to the doctor's instructions.This not only makes the healing process easier. It also allows the doctors to focus only onthe damaged, diseased or cancerous cells found in the patient's body without causingstress to other healthy and normal cells.
How It Works
Biological computers are made inside a patient's body. The researchers or doctors merelyprovide the patient's body with all of the necessary information or a "blueprint" alongwhich lines the biological computer would be "manufactured." Once the "computer's"genetic blueprint has been provided, the human body will start to build it on its own usingthe body's natural biological processes and the cells found in the body.As of today, reading signals produced by cell activity is not yet possible due totechnological limitations. However, through the use of a tiny implantable biologicalcomputer, these cellular signals could easily be detected, translated and understood usingexisting medical and laboratory equipment.
Through boolean logic equations, a doctor or researcher can easily use the biologicalcomputer to identify all types of cellular activity and determine whether a particularactivity is harmful or not. The cellular activities that the biological computer could detectcan even include those of mutated genes and all other activities of the genes found incells.As with conventional computers, the biological computer also works with an output andan input signal. The main inputs of the biological computer are the body's proteins, RNA,and other specific chemicals that are found in the human cytoplasm. The output on theother hand could be detected using laboratory equipment.
The implantable biological computer is a device which could be used in various medicalapplications where intercellular evaluation and treatment are needed or required. It isespecially useful in monitoring intercellular activity including mutation of genes.
By Jonathan M. Gitlin |
In the lab, we have many interesting and ingeniousways of looking at biological processes. The biotechrevolution has allowed us to develop methods fordetecting and quantifying molecules produced byliving cells; we can detect gene expression andactivity, and we can pinpoint within a cell the preciselocation of proteins. However, while these tasks are
relatively easy to perform in vitro on a lab bench,imagine the benefits to medicine if we could applythem in vivo (in a whole, living animal). Nanotechmachines could be injected into a patient that wouldthen monitor for certain conditions and respondaccordingly.There is a paper, published online today in NatureBiotechnology, that brings this dream a little bit closerto reality. Scientists at Harvard and Princeton havedetailed the construction of a biological circuit thatuses siRNA to affect boolean logic statements. Thecircuit works by having two different mRNA strandsthat code for the same protein but containuntranslated regions that correspond to differentsiRNA sequences.Different endogenous inputs will control theexpression of the various siRNAs, thereby affectingwhich of the two mRNA strands gets expressed; anexample would be inputs A and B targeting onemRNA, and inputs X and Y inputting the other mRNA,thereby giving the logic expression (A AND B) OR (XAND Y). Other mRNA strands can be designed towork for (A AND NOT B), and so on. The output of themRNA strand that isn't silenced can be a reporterprotein: luciferase or GFP, for example.Although this research describes relatively simpleartificial molecular machinery, it doesn't take muchimagination to see the potential. Biological machines

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