Synthetic analog and digital circuits for cellular computation and memory

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2014 Oct;29:146-55. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2014.04.009. Epub 2014 May 8.


Biological computation is a major area of focus in synthetic biology because it has the potential to enable a wide range of applications. Synthetic biologists have applied engineering concepts to biological systems in order to construct progressively more complex gene circuits capable of processing information in living cells. Here, we review the current state of computational genetic circuits and describe artificial gene circuits that perform digital and analog computation. We then discuss recent progress in designing gene networks that exhibit memory, and how memory and computation have been integrated to yield more complex systems that can both process and record information. Finally, we suggest new directions for engineering biological circuits capable of computation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Humans
  • Synthetic Biology / methods*