Computing with nucleotides

by Harold Fellermann

16:00 (40 min) in Daysh G.07

Over the past decades, the physico-chemical properties of DNA and RNA have been exploited for ever more non-biological applications such as the construction of intricate nanoscale structures and mechanical devices. Importantly, nucleic acids have been employed to engineer molecular circuits that are able to perform logical computations including logic gates, adders, multiplexers and so on. Together, DNA thus nanotechnology promises the potential to couple structure, sensing, actuation and computation in an, in principle, rationally designable and biocompatible manner.

In my talk, I will introduce to DNA computing based on strand displacement and toehold exchange, discuss its general ability to serve as substrate for universal computation, as well as details of its biocompatibility. I will give an update of our ongoing work to realize a molecular stack data structure, and present initial work on implementing plasmid based logic gates. Finally, I will discuss how this technology could be interfaced with biological processes, and compare the pros and cons of utilizing nucleic acid physics over more established synthetic biological approaches.