Engineering Bacterial Biocomputers Using A Top-Down Approach and Dynamic Genetic Circuits

Michaela A. TerAvest and Largus T. Angenent

Biocomputing is a broad field of research encompassing any area at the intersection of computing and biology. Bacterial biocomputing is a branch of biocomputing focused on generating bacterial strains with useful logical and sensing functions, using chemical, electrical, or physical input or output signals. Significant advances have been made in the last decade; however, there are major obstacles, including a complete lack of programmability and generalizability of all strains created to date. Two reasons for this problem are: i) the limited variety and function of standard genetic parts; and ii) the static nature of current design strategies. We propose a top-down genetic engineering approach and in situ genetic remodeling mechanisms as possible steps to advance bacterial biocomputer designs.

Keywords: Biocomputing, bacteria, genetic circuit, genetic engineering, quorum sensing, microbial electrochemistry

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