Nov 7, 2022

Scientists Build Synthetic Molecular Machines That Can Read Data

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, genetics, nanotechnology

Turing’s machine should sound familiar for another reason. It’s similar to the way ribosomes read genetic code on ribbons of RNA to construct proteins.

Cellular factories are a kind of natural Turing machine. What Leigh’s team is after would work the same way but go beyond biochemistry. These microscopic Turing machines, or molecular computers, would allow engineers to write code for some physical output onto a synthetic molecular ribbon. Another molecule would travel along the ribbon, read (and one day write) the code, and output some specified action, like catalyzing a chemical reaction.

Now, Leigh’s team says they’ve built the first components of a molecular computer: A coded molecular ribbon and a mobile molecular reader of the code.

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