From physics to biology or biology to physics


Long back I posted about 3D printer and there I placed youtube videos showing that one can make real useful stuff such as a mechanical wrench or a bicycle suitable for riding. But so far 3D printing was limited to non-living physical objects. Now recently Dr Will Wenmiao Shu and his team members at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland have successfully printed embryonic human stem cells (hESCs). Instead of usual inks for 3D printing, they have use the stem cells floating on a ‘bio ink’ for the printing. Replicating cells in this way carries future promises for organ replacement or regeneration.

Now another remarkable achievement, in a opposite sense (I mean, bio-stuff can be useful for physical non-bio application), has happened in the MIT lab, USA. Prof Timothy K Lu and his coleagues have found an innovative way to use DNA to produce logic gates that perform binary operations (often termed as Booolean Algbera). They have exploited a fancy property of the recombinase enzymes
on E. coli bacteria cells, that allow of prohibit (like ‘on/1’ and ‘off/0’ state of Boolean Algebra) gene transcription on certain conditions. A green fluorescent protein (GFP) has been used
as the output indicator (lighting of the GFP indicates an ‘on’ sate). The work has been published in this month’s Nature Biotechnology issue.

From the Nature Biotechnology paper by Siuti et al.

From the Nature Biotechnology paper by Siuti et al.

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