And even if you wanted to "program" this feature, you'd have to deal with the nasty problem of protein folding in silico. Better to leave this entire process highly parallel in wetware.
there is no need to deal with protein folding in silico - we know a LOT about proteins and how they work just from standard biochemical assays. There are literally tens of thousands of characterized molecules with known DNA sequences from which we can pick and choose useful sets - slightly modify if need be - and then recombine in novel ways inside a cell. And we can do it directly - without having to rely on some kind of directed evolution - which is quite slow. It is very hard to program a specific well-defined program into a phage - whereas the molecular biology to add features, protein sequences and other regulatory DNA to E. coli is trivial at this point. This is not about making a better immune system, it is about making one (or something else) that is entirely characterized and programmed - not one that must undergo thousands of generations of (difficult to control for) selection in order to become useful.
...not to calculate anything fancy.
Again, because we can program any arbitrary code into the bugs, it is trivial to make a bacteria that lights up green when it detects particular chemicals. Or that only grow when you have a fever, or that do other similar calculations. There are of course extreme difficulties when you're talking about therapeutics because you're interacting with the human body. But outside the human body it is only a matter of time before you start seeing bacterial sensors on everything. They are cheap, they are robust, and they can enzymatically recognize certain properties that mechanical sensors may have great difficulty doing, or doing rapidly, or cheaply. And when you can link the sensors with a programmable logic, THEN you get the really cool stuff. This research demonstrates the first steps into getting the programmable logic up and running.
Movie fans downloading free pirated films are no longer Hollywood's worst nightmare, but that's only because of a newer menace: cheap, and equally illegal, subscription services. Foreign, often mob-run, businesses aggregate illegally obtained movies into "cyberlockers" Cyberlocker-based businesses operate from Russia , Ukraine, Colombia, Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere. Hollywood movies are made available via illegal for-profit sites within days of theatrical release, while the advent of global releasing now allows the proliferation of individual titles into an array of language dubs within the first month of a theatrical debut, he noted. When movies are released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, the sites upgrade the quality of video offered from camcorded images to pristine digital copies. "Sometimes these sites look better than the legitimate sites," Huntsberry said. "That's the irony."
For some reason, they also mention that the U.K. needs a DMCA even though the U.K. is not a problem in this case:
In the U.K., we are hamstrung by the fact that we have very weak legislation. However, the U.K. in April adopted the Digital Economy Act that mandates a so-called graduate response to cybertheft, similar to a plan used in France and elsewhere.
Just a though, but maybe, if they offered a low-cost, for-profit, legitimate download site without DRM, they could receive the profits and not the cyberlockers.
"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken