The hunt for the biological transistor

Julius Lucks*, Adam Arkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In 1977, a small group of researchers in California changed the world when they wrangled a common gut bacterium into producing a human protein. Using every technique in the book - and inventing some of their own - they scavenged, snipped, and glued together genetic components to synthesize a tiny filament of DNA. They then inserted the new segment into some Escherichia coli cells, tricking them into making the human hormone somatostatin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5719724
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Biological information theory
  • DNA
  • Genetics
  • Logic gates
  • Proteins
  • RNA
  • Research and development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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