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Applications

Cellular state machines emulate digital circuits by integrating multiple binary inputs (e.g., chemical inducers) and producing outputs (e.g., gene expression). They have wide-ranging biotechnological applications. For example, they can be used to program and model cellular behaviors such as development and differentiation by controlling the timing and sequence of transcription factor cascades. They can be used as cellular biosensors in which the output (i.e., the DNA sequences or gene expression patterns that comprise the "state" of the cell) is a function of the input (i.e., the pattern of exposure to chemical inducers). Moreover, they can be implemented in biomanufacturing processes in which it would be advantageous to cycle cells through tightly regulated phases (e.g., biomass accumulation, biomolecule production, and cell lysis).