Harnessing Computing Abilities Of Microbes Essay

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Harnessing Computing Abilities of Microbes In Wikipedia, a computer is defined as “anything that transforms information in a purposeful way.” An abacus made of simple wooden beads is considered one of the earlier computing machines invented by man. A Golden Retriever upon hearing “fetch” promptly running towards a ball can also be considered a computer. In our modern every day world we have limited the general definition of a computer to a device that contain wires that conduct electricity and possess integrated circuits that store, count, and facilitate movement of electrons. However, as shown above the idea of computers is not limited to just silicon based integrated circuits. Scientists have recently expanded computing machinery to include microscopic organisms that accept input and transforms into a useful output. Microorganism computing evolved from DNA computing. In 1994, realizing the limitless potential of DNA to hold information, Leonard Adleman solved a mathematical problem known as the “Seven-Point Hamiltonian Path” problem utilizing DNA molecules. The Hamiltonian path problem, also known as “the travelling salesman problem”, involve finding the shortest possible path that visits each city (a node) exactly once given a list of cities and their pair-wise distances. Far from being esoteric, the Hamiltonian Path problems aids in configuring computer networks and package delivery systems such as FedEX albeit at a much more complex level. In his study, Adleman, synthesized varying DNA strands to represent all the permutations of the cities and their pair-wise path distance. DNA strands were then mixed and allowed to hybridize, the resulting hybridized DNA representing all the possible combinations or solutions. Then Mr. Adelman eliminated, through chemical reactions, the combinations that did not yield the correct answer. In microbe

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