A team of Stanford University bioengineers has taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology. They have developed a biological transistor made from genetic material — DNA and RNA. The team calls its invention the “transcriptor.”
The biological device behaves like a transistor, one of the tiny switches that are etched on to microchips in the billions to perform computer calculations.
The researchers demonstrated the device inside E coli bacteria, one of the most common bugs used in genetic engineering. The work marks one of the latest advances in the growing field of synthetic biology, which recasts biology as a toolset for engineers.