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DNA Transistors: The start of a new organism

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posted on Aug, 9 2011 @ 09:20 AM
What if we were able to create digital organisms using DNA that was (protien)transistor based? What types of things are possible with that? Are there any clear dangers?

posted on Aug, 9 2011 @ 09:35 AM
reply to post by John_Rodger_Cornman

sounds like you've been watching to TRON way to much....but the idea sounds great. If we could, we could eliminate all dna deformations and creat the perfect strain.

posted on Aug, 9 2011 @ 11:18 AM

Originally posted by John_Rodger_Cornman
What if we were able to create digital organisms using DNA that was (protien)transistor based? What types of things are possible with that? Are there any clear dangers?

This doesn't quite make sense... At first i thought you meant an organism with a digital brain (made up from transistors), or maybe a simulated digital organism, but you're talking about transistors in the DNA itself... Why would you want to put transistors into the DNA? How would you integrate them at all, and what are they supposed to do there?

Also, transistors don't automatically make things digital. A transistor is, simply speaking, an electronic device, that allows electric current to pass through two of it's terminals (collector and emitter), depending on the input signal on its third terminal (base). The input on the third terminal can simply be ON/OFF (High/Low), acting like an electrical switch, (which would make it digital), but it can also be completely analog, in which case the amplitude of the input directly determines the amplitude of the output. The latter is what is used for amplifiers for example.

The point of transistors is, that you can use a very small (weak) input signal, to directly control a much stronger current between the collector and emitter terminals. That's how we can capture weak radio transmissions, and convert them into signals powerful enough to be heard on speakers. Or how a microprocessor can control heavy machinery with very weak signals, using transistors as switches.

So, what are they supposed to be doing inside DNA anyway? How would the DNA replicate itself, with transistors in between the strands (or wherever they are supposed to be)? Would it have to replicate the transistors as well?

The only thing i can even remotely think of, would be using "transistors" (well, not transistors, but some kind of switches) to switch between different strands of DNA, to determine which ones are active and should reproduce themselves, and which ones are not. Doing that would (in theory) make an organism grow one way, until you flip some of those switches, after which it would continue growing in a different fashion. For a fully grown organism, you might be able to switch off a DNA sequence causing trouble, and replace it with another one. But the system would be limited to the alternate sequences you prepared from the start, and it could only work, if the entire DNA would have these switches, which means, they would have to get replicated together with the rest of the DNA.

Or maybe you were thinking about "transistors" as devices which could completely emulate all the properties of any of the DNAs base pairs, but also allow you to "switch" them to emulate any other base pairs of your choice on your command, so that you could change this artificial DNA on the fly? This would make more sense as an idea, but only in the realm of science fiction i'm afraid. Also, when artificial DNA like that would replicate itself, the resulting DNA would be of the usual kind, and not "adjustable", so the changes would only be effective, if done before the growth would start.

If you can only make changes before the organism starts growing, you didn't achieve anything you couldn't do, if you "simply" created a new DNA sequence, and made it grow. If you wanted to make changes at any given time during the organisms life cycle, you would have to create an artificial alternative for DNA - one that would be capable of both self replication and self modification depending on an external command.

In any case, whatever it would be, it would have very little to do with transistors, and if it's about changing the DNA of an organism, there are probably much easier (or at least less impossible) ways to do it.
edit on 9/8/11 by deezee because: To add...

posted on Aug, 9 2011 @ 01:44 PM
Personaly speaking, I would have thought that what you would want to use would be memristors, but you have to understand the issues of confusing the idea of DNA and the idea of non biological control devices.

DNA is the building block of organic , biological life. In order to make a lifeform , based on DNA, which would come out as something else other than a biological entity , one would have to utterly reprogram some DNA in order to CREATE the memristor or transistor , from DNA. Its a matter of scale. If you want something to contain memristors from the begining of its existance , then you have to make DNA give the chemical order for the creation of that "organ" or tissue.

Unless what you are talking about is a cyborg like situation, which involves the melding, post birth, of man and machine, which is a different idea entirely... care to make it super clear, what exactly you are trying to achieve?

posted on Aug, 9 2011 @ 07:41 PM
I've never heard of a DNA transistor, but -molecular- transistors have been created already in the lab. I don't think DNA transistors, if they were created, would count as an organism. (though I suppose it depends on your definition of organism) They wouldn't be alive if that's what you're thinking. Even if they reproduced, I can't think of any obvious dangers; if you didn't want them to grow, they could probably be killed/destroyed fairly easily. I don't know if they would reproduce or not; I guess it would depend on the design. Reproduction would be undesirable except when creating them so they would probably not be designed to reproduce, but be built artificially somehow. (you don't want uncontrolled growth on your CPU for instance :p)

molecular transistors:
(two different links about the same thing)
edit on 9-8-2011 by DragonsDemesne because: added 2 sentences to post

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 01:52 PM
DNA is not a semiconductor, but it probably can be designed to interface with semiconductors in a controlled way. We might be able to design a biological computer which can store data in the form of DNA. This would increase our data storage density by several orders of magnitude beyond anything yet created. Our brains are a result of evolution, which has accumulated a lot of useless garbage in our DNA. Conceivably, a DNA computer based on intelligent design might be more efficient, and in some ways more powerful. Whether it is better remains to be seen.

As for dangers, any danger you can imagine is a possibility. With or without DNA computers, we may be in the process of creating our own evolutionary successor, which could lead to the extinction of our species.

posted on Oct, 26 2011 @ 02:28 AM
Human and computer hybrids have always been a theoretical likelihood, but not a real possibility. Experts, however, have introduced two brand new developments to light. Two new developments bring biological computing closer than ever. DNA alterations on E.Coli viruses created logic transistors that are able to open or close based on a true-false electrical signal — the basis of binary code. The E.Coli viruses used to create these transistors are all normally found in the human digestive system and would theoretically be compatible with the human body.

These developments and others have been making the possibility of biologically compatible computers more likely. Medical science is especially interested in the possibility, as programmable, biologically neutral computers would be able to improve diagnostics. Medical science is not the only use for these developments, but it is sure to be one of the first uses. Truly usable, commercial biological computers are likely to be years, if not decades away. These developments, however, are two major steps toward the reality.

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