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What is Biological Computer ?

Biological Computers are computers which use synthesized biological components to store and manipulate data

Main biological component used in a Biological Computer is : DNA

What is DNA?
DNA : DeOxyRibo Nucleic Acid Helps in long term storage of information Information in DNA is stored as a code made of four chemical bases (A,T,G & C)

Structure of DNA
The two strands of DNA molecule are anti parallel where each strand runs in opposite direction Complementary base pairs Adenine(A) & Thymine(T) Guanine(G) & Cytosine(C) Two strands are held together by weak hydrogen bonds between the base pairs.

DNA Computing
DNA Computers are small, fast and highly efficient computers which includes the following properties: Dense data storage Massively parallel computation Extraordinary energy efficiency

How Dense is the Data Storage?

With bases spaced at 0.35 nm along DNA, data density is over a million Gbits/inch compared to 7 Gbits/inch in typical high performance HDD.

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Some Facts
This image shows 1 gram of DNA on a CD Storage Capacity of CD : 800 MB Storage Capacity of 1 gram DNA: 1x1014 MB
NOTE: The number of CDs required to hold this amount of data, lined up edge to edge, would circle the Earth 375 times, and would take 1630 centuries to listen to

How Enormous is the Parallelism?

A test tube of DNA can contain trillions of strands. Each operation on a test tube of DNA is carried out on all strands in the tube in parallel !

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How Extraordinary is the Energy Efficiency?

Modern supercomputers only operate at 109 operations per joule.

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AdlemanInventor of Biological Computers

Article released in 1994,described how to use DNA to solve a well-known mathematical problem, called the directed Hamilton Path problem
Goal of the problem is to find the shortest route between a number of cities, going through each city only once

Steps in Adlemans Experiment

Base pair of DNA represent the seven cities

These molecules are then mixed in a test tube, with some of these DNA strands sticking together. A chain of these strands represents a possible answer
Within a few seconds, all of the possible combinations of DNA strands, which represent answers, are created in the test tube Adleman eliminates the wrong molecules through chemical reactions.


Spooling the DNA with a metal hook or similar device

Precipitation of more DNA strands in alcohol Formation of DNA strands.

Hamilton Path Problem



Alice Spring


Sydney Melbourne

Adlemans Experiment (continued)

Encode each city with complementary base (vertex molecules) Sydney Perth Melbourne Brisbane Alice Spring Darwin TTAAGG AAAGGG GATACT CGGTGC CGTCCA CCGATG

Adlemans Experiment (continued)

Encode all possible paths using the complementary base (edge molecules) Sydney Melbourne AGGGAT Melbourne Sydney ACTTTA Melbourne Perth ACTGGG etc

Adlemans Experiment (continued)

Merge vertex molecules and edge molecules. All complementary base will adhere to each other to form a long chains of DNA molecules Solution with vertex DNA molecules Merge & Anneal Solution with edge DNA molecules

Long chains of DNA molecules (All possible paths exist in the graph)

Adlemans Experiment (continued)

Select a path that starts with proper city and ends with final city.
Select paths with correct number of cities. Select path which contains each city only once.

Adlemans Experiment (continued)

The solution is a double helix molecule:






Alice Spring

Darwin Brisbane Brisbane Sydney Sydney Melbourne Melbourne Perth Alice Spring Perth

Hence Adleman proved DNA can be used to solve complex problems.

Conventional vs. Biological Computers

Conventional Component materials Processing scheme Inorganic, e.g. silicon Sequential and limited massively parallel Biological Biological, e.g. DNA Massively parallel

Current max. operations

Quantum effects a problem? Toxic components? Energy efficient?

1012 Op.s per sec.

Yes Yes No

1014 Op.s per sec.

No No Yes

Parallel Computing Incredibly light weight Low power Solves Complex Problems quickly

It will take years to develop a practical, workable Biological Computer.
ButLets all hope that this DREAM comes true!!!

Please feel free to ask any questions