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Issue 5, 2007
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A synthetic biology challenge: making cells compute

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Advances in biology and engineering have enabled the reprogramming of cells with well-defined functions, leading to the emergence of synthetic biology. Early successes in this nascent field suggest its potential to impact diverse areas. Here, we examine the feasibility of engineering circuits for cell-based computation. We illustrate the basic concepts by describing the mapping of several computational problems to engineered gene circuits. Revolving around these examples and past studies, we discuss technologies and computational methods available to design, test, and optimize gene circuits. We conclude with discussion of challenges involved in a typical design cycle, as well as those specific to cellular computation.

Graphical abstract: A synthetic biology challenge: making cells compute

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The article was received on 18 Dec 2006, accepted on 08 Feb 2007 and first published on 27 Feb 2007

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/B618473C
Citation: Mol. BioSyst., 2007,3, 343-353

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    A synthetic biology challenge: making cells compute

    C. Tan, H. Song, J. Niemi and L. You, Mol. BioSyst., 2007, 3, 343
    DOI: 10.1039/B618473C

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