Biomolecular Computing Devices in Synthetic Biology

Biomolecular Computing Devices in Synthetic Biology

Jesús M. Miró (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Spain) and Alfonso Rodríguez-Patón (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-996-0.ch014
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Synthetic biology and biomolecular computation are disciplines that fuse when it comes to designing and building information processing devices. In this chapter, we study several devices that are representative of this fusion. These are three gene circuits implementing logic gates, a DNA nanodevice and a biomolecular automaton. The operation of these devices is based on gene expression regulation, the so-called competitive hybridization and the workings of certain biomolecules like restriction enzymes or regulatory proteins. Synthetic biology, biomolecular computation, systems biology and standard molecular biology concepts are also defined to give a better understanding of the chapter. The aim is to acquaint readers with these biomolecular devices born of the marriage between synthetic biology and biomolecular computation.
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Synthetic Biology, Biomolecular Computation And Systems Biology

The definition of synthetic biology is changing and the borders of this discipline are fuzzy. In the following, we will try to give a comprehensive definition that includes the most relevant research that is being developed and could be considered to be part of this field. We will also describe biomolecular computation and systems biology. Systems biology is also a relative new and emerging field that can help to move synthetic biology and biomolecular computation forward.

Synthetic biology: is a discipline half-way between science and engineering (Benner, 2005; De Lorenzo, 2006; ETC group, 2007). It is concerned with:

  • The design, construction and modification of biomolecular systems and organisms to perform specific functions.

  • To get a better understanding of biological mechanisms.

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