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Home > News > Biological nanobots could repair and improve the human body, but they'll be more bio than bot

June 10th, 2008

Biological nanobots could repair and improve the human body, but they'll be more bio than bot

Abstract:
It's a seductive idea, seemingly validated by the workings of the cells of our own bodies. We're full of sophisticated nanoassemblers: delve into the inner workings of a typical cell and you'll find molecular motors that convert chemical energy into mechanical energy and membranes with active ion channels that sort molecules—two key tasks needed for basic nanoscale assembly. ATP synthase, for example, is an intricate cluster of proteins constituting a mechanism that makes adenosine triphosphate, the molecule that fuels the contraction of muscle cells and countless other cellular processes. Cell biology also exhibits software-controlled manufacturing, in the form of protein synthesis. The process starts with the ribosome, a remarkable molecular machine that can read information from a strand of messenger RNA and convert the code into a sequence of amino acids. The amino-acid sequence in turn defines the three-dimensional structure of a protein and its function. The ribosome fulfils the functions expected of an artificial assembler—proof that complex nanoassembly is possible.

Source:
spectrum.ieee.org

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