It's easy to find work on gene-based storage; finding genes that will do any of the heavy lifting is another matter. MIT believes it has a genetic circuit that will finally get to work, and then some. In using recombinase enzymes to alter DNA sequences serving as logic gates, researchers have developed a cellular circuit that not only mimics its silicon cousins, but has its own built-in memory. As the gate activation makes permanent changes to a given DNA sequence, any gate actions stay in memory for up to 90 generations -- and will hang around even if the cell's life is cut short. MIT sees its technique as having ultimate uses for areas where longer-term memory is important, such as environmental sensors, but could also see varying output values helping with digital-to-analog converters and other devices where there's a need for more precision. While there's no word on imminent plans for real-world use, the development raises the possibility of processors that could skip the traditional memory cache as they pass info down the family tree.
MIT crafts genetic circuits that remember their work through DNA
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|February 12, 2013 12:58 AM