Pathways to cellular supremacy in biocomputing

Lewis Grozinger, Martyn Amos, Thomas E Gorochowski, Pablo Carbonell, Diego Oyarzun, Ruud Stoof, Harold Fellermann, Paolo Zuliani, Huseyin Tas, Angel Goni-Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


Synthetic biology uses living cells as the substrate for performing human-defined computations. Many current implementations of cellular computing are based on the “genetic circuit” metaphor, an approximation of the operation of silicon-based computers. Although this conceptual mapping has been relatively successful, we argue that it fundamentally limits the types of computation that may be engineered inside the cell, and fails to exploit the rich and diverse functionality available in natural living systems. We propose the notion of “cellular supremacy” to focus attention on domains in which biocomputing might offer superior performance over traditional computers. We consider potential pathways toward cellular supremacy, and suggest application areas in which it may be found.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5250 (2019)
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2019

Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute


  • biocomputing
  • cellular supremacy
  • synthetic biology
  • bioengineering
  • genetic circuits


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