CRISPR helped create a dual-core computer inside a human cell

Swiss scientists have used CRISPR genome editing tools to create biocomputers. They started from the idea that a living cell is a ready-made computing complex capable of receiving data from the outside and processing it. And the entire human body can be viewed as a supercomputer with tremendous capabilities with symbolic power consumption - for it to work, a bowl of soup is enough.

Using natural metabolic processes to construct logic circuits is a key goal of synthetic biology. Scientists in Zurich used a modified version of CRISPR to assemble a special variant of the Cas9 enzyme. It works like a simple processor - it can “read” information from RNA molecules, activate the expression of certain genes in response, which will lead to the synthesis of proteins that are easy to find.

It works as the basic logic gates on the basis of which all binary code processing schemes are designed. Scientists managed to squeeze two such processing cores into one conventional cell and received a functional computing module. If you submit information in the form of biomarkers to its input, it will perform calculations and provide an answer - yes or no, either one substance for the analysis of which it is programmed, or another.

In fact, one module will not be enough to analyze complex biomarkers, but combining thousands and even billions of modules into a single architecture is the task that was solved on printed circuit boards half a century ago. Now scientists have a chance to repeat the success in the form of living cells and learn how to literally "grow in a test tube" supercomputers of arbitrary power, which will only need a spoonful of sugar to work.