Cell Circuits Remember Their History

Feb. 11, 2013 — MIT engineers have created genetic circuits in bacterial cells that not only perform logic functions, but also remember the results, which are encoded in the cell's DNA and passed on for dozens of generations.

The circuits, described in the Feb. 10 online edition of Nature Biotechnology, could be used as long-term environmental sensors, efficient controls for biomanufacturing, or to program stem cells to differentiate into other cell types.

This is absolutely a fantastic discovery in bio-engineering. It reaffirms the belief that certain species of animals are able to encode their original nesting grounds into their DNA, allowing them to find their way home even if they have never even been there.

Now, what does that mean for us? Well, it may potentially mean Smart Anti-biotics. Small Nano-bacteria that are able to be programmed with multitudes of different viruses and diseases. At that point we can arm them with the necessary tools to fight off those diseases, making disease a thing of the past. 

One might think this wouldn't work against a virus like Influenza, since it is constantly evolving. This may be true to a point. However it is important to remember that this is a learning mechanism and can learn the different strains of influenza you have come in contact with and how to fight them. Just like your immune system already does mind you.

The applications for something like this may not be 100% clear yet, but I assure you it is a very important discovery in modern science. That being said, it's good to know that we still have people turning Science-Fiction, into science fact.