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ParAlleL: A Novel Population-Based Approach to Biological Logic Gates

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2019 Millacura, Largey and French. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2019


In vivo logic gates have proven difficult to combine into larger devices. Our cell-based logic system, ParAlleL, decomposes a large circuit into a collection of small subcircuits working in parallel, each subcircuit responding to a different combination of inputs. A final global output is then generated by a combination of the responses. Using ParAlleL, for the first time a completely functional 3-bit full adder and full subtractor were generated using Escherichia coli cells, as well as a calculator-style display that shows a numeric result, from 0 to 7, when the proper 3 bit binary inputs are introduced into the system. ParAlleL demonstrates the use of a parallel approach for the design of cell-based logic gates that facilitates the generation and analysis of complex processes, without the need for complex genetic engineering.

    Research areas

  • 3-bits, Escherichia coli, calculator-like display, full adder, full subtractor, parallel approach

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