InterJournal Complex Systems, 76
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [76]
Submission Date: 963011
DNA computational mechanisms
Author(s): Fouad Siddiqi , Charles R. Cantor

Subject(s): CX.07

Category: Brief Article


Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) can be viewed as a digital encoding of information in a biological macromolecule. Here we describe some common molecular biological techniques that are analogous to simple computational operations. DNA may be idealized as a sequence of digits (purine and pyrimidine bases) that are tethered to a chemical backbone that preserves the directionality as well as order of the sequence. All "operations" carried out on information encoded in DNA are performed using enzymes, biological nanomachines that catalyze very specific and reproducible chemical reactions . These reactions are usually carried out under experimental conditions that are far from thermodynamic equilibrium, favoring formation of the products. The advantage of using DNA for computation is one of massive parallelism: in a single reaction 10^14 DNA molecules, each one potentially encoding a different sequence, can be acted upon simultaneously. Any practical strategy employing DNA for computation must take into account the limitations of currently available experimental techniques.

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