Biological Internet CreatedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: October 1, 2012 05:57AM
Communication is key for many endeavors for many species, so means by which to improve communications are quite valuable. In the decades since the Internet was first created, we have seen the size of the world shrink and the information it contains grow. Now researchers at the Stanford University Medical Center have created a biological internet to connect cells that may greatly grow what cellular communities are capable of.
Though many people may think of viruses as something that make you sick, a great many are actually not harmful to humans or even the cells they occupy, such as M13. This virus invades its host and consumes some of its food, but that is roughly the extent of its damage to the host cell. While M13 sits there though, it does package up bits of DNA to send out to other cells. What the researchers have done is modify M13 so they can control what DNA is broadcasted outside of its host.
Of course this "Bi-Fi" may never be used to transmit data as our computers know it, but it could be used to send complex signals to other cells, which would be of great use to cellular communities that are used to produce specific chemicals. Such coordination could increase the efficiency of the production of these chemicals or even the complexity of the chemicals being produced, which would be great for production of fuels and pharmaceuticals.