Genetic virus finder

A DNA computer could quickly and cheaply spot the telltale signs of pathogens such as West Nile and strains of the avian influenza virus, according to researchers Columbia University Medical Center in New York and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Joanne Macdonald and her colleagues have developed the first "medium-scale integrated molecular circuit", which they say represents the most powerful DNA computing device to date. The MAYA-II (Molecular Array of YES and AND logic gates) can "compute" whether a particular viral strain is present in a blood sample or other fluid through molecular recognition of genetic information. The team has not yet optimized their DNA computer for diagnostics but they have demonstrated its prowess in tic-tac-toe as a proof of principle calculation.