Population-based microbial computing: a third wave of synthetic biology?

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Synthetic biology is an emerging research field, in which engineering principles are applied to natural, living systems. A major goal of synthetic biology is to harness the inherent “biological nanotechnology” of living cells for the purposes of computation, production or diagnosis. As the field evolves, it is gradually developing from a single-cell approach (akin to using standalone computers) to a distributed, population-based approach (akin to using networks of connected machines). We anticipate this eventually representing the “third wave” of synthetic biology (the first two waves being the emergence of modules and systems, respectively, with the second wave still yet to peak). In this paper, we review the developments that are leading to this third wave, and describe some of the existing scientific and technological challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-782
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of General Systems
Issue number7
Early online date29 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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