James Collins’ team at Boston University, working with colleagues at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, has designed synthetic gene networks that detect and respond to external signals, and hold a memory of past experiences—the first synthetic biological systems that can count.

News coverage:

Counting cells could trigger their own destruction (New Scientist)

Cellular counter brings computer programming to life (Wired)

Scientists turn living cells into clocks (The Christian Science Monitor)

Bacteria cells programmed to count (Discovery Channel)

Programming cells to do the work (The Wall Street Journal)