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Distributed Multicellular Computation

Distributed Multicellular Computation

A system used in multicellular synthetic biology where Boolean function is divided into subfunctions performed by subpopulations of cells.

Boolean logic gates are engineered to operate in single cells using transcriptional regulators, RNA molecules or site-specific recombinases for the purpose of programing cells to respond to chemical or physical signals. Scaling up complexity poses some problems since a high number of parts can affect cellular viability due to metabolic burden. Some logic gates are too complex to be implemented by single cells. Logic can be simplified by using Distributed Multicellular Computation (DMC) where computational labor is divided between different cell strains. As in nature, where division of labor between subpopulations of cells allows cellular communities to accomplish complex tasks, logic programs can be engineered so that they are distributed between different cells. Dividing circuits into smaller subcircuits reduces the metabolic burden. Another advantage is the modular nature in which previously optimized regulatory components can be reused in different cell subpopulations.

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