Researchers at the University of Washington have developed something that is just about as crazy as it sounds. That's right, computer code that can create DNA molecules, courtesy of some of the biggest innovation we've seen in a while. 

Now let that one sink in for a minute. That may sound somewhat useless at first, but think about it. As far as practical application goes, this unique programming language creates a coded set of instructions to build DNA molecules, building on the concept of chemical reaction network theory, which is best described as an “area of applied mathematics that attempts to model the behavior of real world chemical systems,” which in this case, is none other than the building blocks of life, DNA itself. 

In other words, University of Washington engineers have just discovered a way to program simulated life, all while using a language that allows them to program and direct the movement of custom molecules. The applications for this are enormous and far-reaching. You could use the DNA molecules to simulate and project different combinations of the four nucleotides, guanine, adenine, thymine and cytosine.

The university's research is published in Nature Nanotechnology. There, Georg Seelig, one of the researchers, explained the process:

“We start from an abstract, mathematical description of a chemical system, and then use DNA to build the molecules that realize the desired dynamics. The vision is that eventually, you can use this technology to build general-purpose tools.... If you want a computer to do something else, you just reprogram it. This project is very similar in that we can tell chemistry what to do.”

For those of you haven't taken science in a while, this means that—in theory—this code will allow us to create molecules that could combat disease, fight various genetic deficiencies, and generally upgrade our genetic code. Now, all we need is a 3D printer that can print molecules, and we're as gold as Pony Boy in The Outsiders.  

[via Gizmodo]