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Counting to Infinity ...


K. Nolde, H. Vanderschuren

First ETH Symposium on Synthetic Biology, 24. Feb 2006

The project of the ETH Zurich team consists of the design and in vivo implementation of a gene circuit that can count to 2. In essence, the counter uses two toggle switches, each storing 1 bit, to keep track of the 4 internal states. The design of the counter is highly modular, with the hope that it can be included as a unit in larger circuits, and also combined with further counter instances to keep track of a much larger number of states, up to 2^n with n units. To facilitate further developments and integration to other projects, the parts of the counter are available in form of BioBricks. Among many exciting applications, the availability of a counter enables the execution of sequential instructions, and therfore paves the way for the execution of artificial programs inside living cells.

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