School of Computing


CADMAD: Paving the Way for Future Emerging DNA-based Technologies: Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing of DNA libraries

CADMAD aims to make a foundational breakthrough in the way computers and computer-aided design and manufacturing is employed in DNA-based research and development, making a radically new use of information technologies in biology and biotechnology. Biology and biotechnology research involves "DNA programming", which is akin to computer programming. Researchers modify and combine DNA of interest in a programmatic way to uncover its function, to improve its function, or to create new functions. Whereas the composition and editing of computer programs is as easy as using a word-processor, the design, construction and editing of DNA in a programmatic fashion is still a slow, expensive, labour-intensive wet-lab process. CADMAD's vision is to replace the labour-intensive DNA processing carried out today by tens of thousands of skilled wet-lab workers around the world, by high-throughput computer-aided design and manufacturing of DNA, which would be fundamentally more efficient than plain de novo DNA synthesis by effectively reusing existing DNA. Computed-aided design and manufacturing of semiconductor chips has enabled the computer revolution, the Internet revolution, and the mobile phone revolution. Computer-aided design and manufacturing of DNA may similarly enable a revolution in biology and biotechnology, in which high-throughput computer-aided and robotically executed experiments replace manual wet-lab work, resulting in accelerated progress in key areas of research and development.