Lulu Qian

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To construct sophisticated biochemical circuits from scratch, one needs to understand how simple the building blocks can be and how robustly such circuits can scale up. Using a simple DNA reaction mechanism based on a reversible strand displacement process, we experimentally demonstrated several digital logic circuits, culminating in a four-bit square-root circuit that comprises 130 DNA strands. These multilayer circuits include thresholding and catalysis within every logical operation to perform digital signal restoration, which enables fast and reliable function in large circuits with roughly constant switching time and linear signal propagation delays. The design naturally incorporates other crucial elements for large-scale circuitry, such as general debugging tools, parallel circuit preparation, and an abstraction hierarchy supported by an automated circuit compiler.

[1] Scaling up digital circuit computation with DNA strand displacement cascades. Lulu Qian and Erik Winfree. Science, 332:1196-1201, 2011. (pdf) (supp info)
[2] Perspective: "Scaling up DNA computation" by John Reif, 332:1156-1167. (pdf)
[3] News and Views: "DNA computes a square root" by Yaakov Benenson, Nature Nanotechnology, 6:465-467. (pdf)