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Advanced Biological Computer Developed

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the man-and-machine dept.

Biotech 40

First time accepted submitter ben saad issam writes in with news about a new biological transducer built by Israeli scientist. "Using only biomolecules (such as DNA and enzymes), scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed and constructed an advanced biological transducer, a computing machine capable of manipulating genetic codes, and using the output as new input for subsequent computations. The breakthrough might someday create new possibilities in biotechnology, including individual gene therapy and cloning."

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You know what's coming (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43826979)

Limited [wikipedia.org] lifespan [wikipedia.org] beings.

Re:You know what's coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827189)

I've... read things you people wouldn't believe...

Re:You know what's coming... again (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year ago | (#43827475)

I've... read things you people wouldn't believe...

Like ships on fire near the Tannhauser Gate, maybe?

Re:You know what's coming... again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829327)

I've... read things you people wouldn't believe...

Like ships on fire near the Tannhauser Gate, maybe?

Yes, thank-you, we got it.

Re:You know what's coming... again (1)

Walczyk (1116023) | about a year ago | (#43836507)

I was thinking of C-beams.

Re:You know what's coming (1)

someone1234 (830754) | about a year ago | (#43827495)

What about unlimited lifespan beings?

Re:You know what's coming (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year ago | (#43827529)

Only if I can be one of them

Re:You know what's coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828053)

Well, I'm sure the companies who hold the patents on your biochemistry will gladly give you additional years. Say, for $100000 per year after age 25.

Re:You know what's coming (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43828171)

This is just a bullshit article about how somebody is really proud of their new baby.

Re:You know what's coming (1)

plopez (54068) | about a year ago | (#43828407)

I was going to say a Golem...

Yeah, but I beyt tis will be more like this (1)

Optali (809880) | about a year ago | (#43835691)

[Youtube.com] [youtube.com]
<insert Kletsmer sountrack here>

All biological systems... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43826995)

"All biological systems, and even entire living organisms, are natural molecular computers. Every one of us is a biomolecular computer, that is, a machine in which all components are molecules "talking" to one another in a logical manner. The hardware and software are complex biological molecules that activate one another to carry out some predetermined chemical tasks. The input is a molecule that undergoes specific, programmed changes, following a specific set of rules (software) and the output of this chemical computation process is another well defined molecule."

What everyone is a complex biological computer? Even Palestinians? Really?

+1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827023)

Modded to -1, apparently they're not complex biological computer. Well lets hope the Israeli scientists don't start experimenting on them anyway.

Re:All biological systems... (5, Insightful)

jouassou (1854178) | about a year ago | (#43827081)

Why is it that every time foreign people do something amazing, someone has to question them about the actions of their governments?

Someone in Isreal did science? But they oppress the Palestinians, so it doesn't matter.
Someone in Saudi Arabia did science? But they oppress their women, so it doesn't matter.
Someone in China did science? But they censor their internet, so it doesn't matter.
Someone in Russia did science? But Putin is a fascist, so it doesn't matter.

Assuming that you're american, how would you react if you published a scientific paper after making a great breakthrough, and people started asking why you killed all those people in Afghanistan and Iraq, and why you tortured them without due process at Guantanamo Bay?

Don't get me wrong, I do support human rights; but you shouldn't blame every single individual for the actions of their government.

Re:All biological systems... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827157)

Unlike so many toothaches who have made their comely maestro abhorrent to us, dilettantes remain botched. Most people believe that the friendly ruffian boogies a bride for a philosopher, but they need to remember how ridiculously an unseemly widow ruminates. If the bride greedily sells a comely looking glass to an onlooker about a ribbon, then the midwife for a girl daydreams. A labyrinth over a dissident single-handledly approaches a snow near another looking glass, but a bubble bath almost writes a love letter to the tenor toward the coward.

It's just common sense.

Re:All biological systems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827943)

Economic, cultural, and academic boycott brought down apartheid in South Africa and it can stop Israel's ongoing ethnic cleansing and apartheid in Palestine too. The Palestinians have asked for it [pacbi.org] and it is certainly preferable to the violent means of opposition that everyone condemned ten years ago. I suppose you just want everyone to do nothing at all while Israel continues with it's plan to take as much land as possible with as few non-Jews as possible. A plan hatched over 100 years ago, climaxing with the Nakba in 1947-1948, and continuing to this very day.

As an American, maybe you shouldn't be letting your representatives get a free pass with the torture and aggressive invasion. There have been zero prosecutions for ordering torture. The media can't even bring itself to acknowledge that people were tortured much less call for real investigations or prosecution. There are no calls for prosecuting the perpetrators of the Afghanistan or Iraq invasions or for prosecuting the Obama administration for extrajudicial killings, though these are all illegal under US law. Everything is hunky dory in the USA because it was non-white non-judeochristians that got killed by the hundreds of thousands.

Re:All biological systems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43830933)

Ethnic Cleansing?? Okay there rocket scientist, how many times have you been to Israel or "Palestine" to accuse it of "ethnic cleansing"?? You're simply just an uneducated parrot repeating what you hear on the propaganda tube... "Polly wanna cracker polly wanna cracker Palestinians are oppressed Palestinians are oppressed " How the f#$ck is Israel an apartheid state when Palestinians own and run businesses and are in the parliament, and can vote in Israel?? how the f%$#ck do you bark the word Nakba when leaving out what the Egyptian president said, you know about telling all the arabs to leave so he can "purge the land of Jews" and you accuse Israel of wrong doing ? what's this plan that "hatched" 100 years ago?? to escape persecution in Europe? what about all the Jews that were hunted after in Iraq and Iran, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt so on and so forth, no, of course not, you leave it out conveniently. Maybe you should take a break from tech news, and read your history, but not the presstv.com version. ...dip$hit

Re:All biological systems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43840967)

If persecution by Europeans happened in Europe to European Jews, why must the Palestinians suffer for it?

Re:All biological systems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827991)

"Don't get me wrong, I do support human rights; but you shouldn't blame every single individual for the actions of their government."

Of course you can. Every individual is to blame for what their government does. In democracy, it's usually pretty transparent, people make a choice, without giving it much thought, then wait another 4-5 years to make another one. If they truly cared, they'd fix it faster than that. But they don't. We don't see revolutions, we don't see any significant public outcry against Guantanamo Bay, abortions or persecutions of xx minority. You ask an individual off the street about it, he'll say, he disagrees, but it doesn't really matter, because he's not doing anything about it, therefore he implicitly agrees.

Then you have dictatorships. Dictatorships have fallen, communism has fallen in East Europe just 24 years ago, people wanted a change, and they made it happen. China has communism, and they're damn proud of it. Everything their government does, is thoroughly approved by the people just by leaving the current leaders in place.

The Americans, I greatly respect them. They have some fucked up notions on what freedom and free speech are, but they're defending them. You can draw the nazi cross on walls, and all you'd get is a fine for property damage, while in other countries it would mean serious jail time. That I can respect.

Re:All biological systems... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43828151)

Why is it that every time foreign people do something amazing, someone has to question them about the actions of their governments?

Because that's the only thing they can contribute. They don't understand the science, but they do understand geography.

In this case, I'd say it's more a fault of the articles than the reader: I'm a molecular biologist, and I can't figure out from the summary or the blurby article what's going on.

“Our results show a novel, synthetic designed computing machine that computes iteratively and produces biologically relevant results,” says lead researcher Prof. Ehud Keinan of the Technion Schulich Faculty of Chemistry. “In addition to enhanced computation power, this DNA-based transducer offers multiple benefits, including the ability to read and transform genetic information, miniaturization to the molecular scale, and the aptitude to produce computational results that interact directly with living organisms.”

Honestly, aside from "DNA-based" and "read and transform genetic information," that sounds exactly like the computer I'm currently typing on. There are no concrete examples of how this could be useful in any article I'm coming across. There's no video of this thing in action. It's all buzzwords and promises.

The actual article can be found here [sciencedirect.com] behind a paywall. The abstract:

As computing devices, which process data and interconvert information, transducers can encode new information and use their output for subsequent computing, offering high computational power that may be equivalent to a universal Turing machine. We report on an experimental DNA-based molecular transducer that computes iteratively and produces biologically relevant outputs. As a proof of concept, the transducer accomplished division of numbers by 3. The iterative power was demonstrated by a recursive application on an obtained output. This device reads plasmids as input and processes the information according to a predetermined algorithm, which is represented by molecular software. The device writes new information on the plasmid using hardware that comprises DNA-manipulating enzymes. The computation produces dual output: a quotient, represented by newly encoded DNA, and a remainder, represented by E. coli phenotypes. This device algorithmically manipulates genetic codes.

So... in other words they made sequences in ecoli which can be used as a calculator. A very, very, VERY slow calculator. This is not a novel concept [acs.org] people have used DNA for computations before. DNA based computers are probably never going to replace electronic ones, I mean fundamentally, DNA is slower than electricity. Even life finds DNA to be too slow for such calculations, which is why your thoughts are conducted via sodium and potassium gradients. The fact that they don't mention any real uses for this means they couldn't think up a good reason why you'd need to do computations with DNA. "aptitude to produce computational results that interact directly with living organisms" bullshit.

So, I'd say that Israel sounds like the most interesting thing here. I now know that the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Israel has a PR department that works VERY hard to make their results sound interesting.

I will say that the techniques here could have real uses and could be important, just not at all in the ways that are being discussed. It could lead to a useful lab technique, maybe. But making a living computer? I'd sooner believe that North Korea had invented cold fusion.

Re:All biological systems... (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about a year ago | (#43840065)

I heard the first automobile was kind of slow.

Re:All biological systems... (1)

GenieGenieGenie (942725) | about a year ago | (#43829233)

The irony is that the OP's name is definitely Arabic, as are about 10% of undergrads in Israeli universities.

Re:All biological systems... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43830465)

Assuming that you're american, how would you react if you published a scientific paper after making a great breakthrough, and people started asking why you killed all those people in Afghanistan and Iraq, and why you tortured them without due process at Guantanamo Bay?

What world do you live in? This happens all the time.

Interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827115)

If this was from Syria, we rightfully could discuss Syrias appalling actions in this context. But this is Israel and all you did was mention the P word and mods wasted mod points trying to suppress a zero point comment that few would see.

I think its very telling that discussions are shut down simply by mention of the P word. Very interesting.

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827161)

Sorry, I disagree. If this was from Syria there could perhaps be a discussion about how their academia is able to innovate despite the civil war going on. The actual war, who's killing who, who's right and who's wrong, would still be off-topic.

Which of those? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827209)

Some of the more interesting threads on Slashdot are the ones that don't stick to the narrow subject the submitter is promoting.

"The actual war, who's killing who, who's right and who's wrong, would still be off-topic."

Except I said none of those, you're simply projecting that from your own guilt onto my comment. What I did was mention "Palestinians" in the context of a grandiose comment from a vague science story about how we're all complex biological computers, and wait to see who would project what onto the comment.

So 'jouassou' projected a 'It's not my fault' vibe, adding the word 'oppress'. (quot: "But they oppress the Palestinians") Yet I didn't use the word oppress. I also noted he listed dictatorships as examples, which I found interesting, because I view Israel as a democracy, and thus the government is elected by the people. So perhaps he views it as a dictatorship.

You seem to want to limit fields of discussion, fair enough, that's what mod points are for. Seems a bit silly modding a zero point comment down, unless moderator is worried it might be modded up.

Re:Which of those? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43827641)

It's not "very telling". Quite simply: There are a lot of moronic mods out there. Come to grips with the fact that you can't please all the people all the time, and embrace your inner troll. I have. My karma has soared. The mods, They do nothing!

Re:Which of those? (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43831565)

Some of the more interesting threads on Slashdot are the ones that don't stick to the narrow subject the submitter is promoting.

And yet the worst threads are the ones like these that devolve in a political shitfest. Which is any post that barely touches:
Israel, China, the US government, the EU, guns, money, climate, religion, evolution, women, RMS and a handful of other topics that I can't be bothered to dig up from memory. Grow up please.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827457)

This is an excellent observation. Repeated observations of innovation, country by country, gives us a truer feeling for the freedoms present in each country. Also, the purer the ongoing scientific advances made in a country, the more freedom is indicated in that country. In a fascist-lead country there can be progress toward a technical goal that helps the regime. Even so, under such pressure, scientists will guard and hold back their great discoveries because they know it is their perceived value that keeps them in demand (and safe). Scientists jockeying for position under a totalitarian regime withhold rather than share. So when you see a country repeatedly make advances in pure science, and these advances are shared with the rest of the world, you are seeing a country where thinking people do not feel constraints on what they think and do not feel they will be persecuted for their attitudes and thoughts. Ongoing shared diverse excellent scientific contribution is your canary in the coal mine of oppression.

Re:Interesting (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43854003)

who's killing whom

ISR,TFYFM!

Actually to late there is the 'Babbage Cabbage' (1)

axonis (640949) | about a year ago | (#43827007)

The datacentre you can eat, runs on solar, more power friendly and quite tasty, a data centre you can grow, actually already placed an order for 200, million in China
I qubet your proteins are folding now

Re:Actually to late there is the 'Babbage Cabbage' (1)

axonis (640949) | about a year ago | (#43827067)

sub this C2H4NO2R(C2H2NOR)n .... the rest is proprietry

Dune (2)

evanism (600676) | about a year ago | (#43827463)

Turn us all into Mentats.

Need the spice!

Israeli Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827981)

That Israeli Technology is something else. Aside from this innovation, the cell phone, the Intel Core i7, and cherry tomato, Israeli scientists have been hard at work. Recently, they designed a special truck that lets them spray foul smelling liquid on homes owned by undesirable nonjews [youtube.com] with a push of a button from inside a comfortable, safe truck. Previously, Israeli soldiers had to personally defecate on Palestinian's floor. Progress!

advances (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828501)

"The breakthrough might someday create new possibilities in biotechnology, including individual gene therapy and cloning."

Right, the advances in weaponized biologics can only be dreamed of.

Israel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829181)

More like Occupied Plaestine.

Advanced biological computer developed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829285)

Eats fruits, grains, herbs; ingests juices: kiwi, lime, nettle (ouch!), parsley, quinoa, rosemary, sage, thyme. Unfortunately, vents wind... Xenotransplantation yields zoomorphism.

Free Palestine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43831255)

You zionist nazis!

One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881833)

Gelpacks

Not just computers... (1)

iq145 (2720165) | about a year ago | (#43887099)

May 31, 2013: World Gets Its Most Accurate Clock - Loses just one second in 50 billion years – Most clocks lose minutes over time and need to be reset—but if you're a scientist or an engineer, you need clocks that are just a bit more reliable. And now researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have created the world's two most accurate atomic clocks. The next time they'll need to be reset—for a mere one-second delay—is in 50.8 billion years. The researchers' paper describes the significance of the development: It's like "specifying the age of the known universe to a precision of less than one second or Earth's diameter to less than the width of an atom." The clocks, as all atomic clocks do, keep time using light frequencies and the fluctuation of atoms. But small movements of the atom or stray electric fields can interfere with the frequencies, so the new design—known as an optical lattice clock—minimizes these problems, holding the atoms in a vice-like grip, MIT Technology Review reports. And while you're probably thinking no one should be that obsessed with being on time, there are real-world applications. As Smithsonian explains, the clocks may help measure small changes in glacier ice thickness or tectonic plate movement; they're even useful for GPS systems. http://www.newser.com/story/168793/worlds-most-accurate-clock-keeps-time-for-50b-years.html [newser.com]
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